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If you’re planning on getting pregnant, one of the key pieces of information you need is the date you will ovulate. This tells you when you will be fertile, as you can only get pregnant when sperm can encounter a fertile egg within the twenty-four hours after ovulation.

Today we’re taking a look at some of the different ovulation tests on offer so you can make an informed choice about what’s best for you.

Ovulation Predictor Kits

Ovulation Predictor Kits of OPKs are hormone based tests that look for high levels of the hormones that cause ovulation in your urine. The main hormone these tests look for is LH – Luteinising Hormone. This is produced in increasing quantities throughout the first phase of your menstrual cycle, where eggs mature in the ovaries, and a big surge in the hormone cues them to release the dominant egg when it’s at full maturity.

They’re easy to buy, and relatively easy to use, but they aren’t a perfect solution. If you have naturally high or low LH levels, they may not register ovulation correctly, either telling you that you’re ovulating before or after the event itself, or failing to tell you when you do ovulate, and causing you to miss your fertile days.

Even if your LH levels at the average level the test is looking for, you can miss the LH surge simply by taking the test at the wrong time of day! This makes it hard to recommend OPKs to anyone who’s trying to use them to boost their fertility.

BBT Tracking

Your BBT is your Basal Body Temperature. This is the low temperature your body drops to overnight, and it changes in response to your body’s preparations for ovulation. If you take your temperature every morning (before you get and start moving around) and look at how it changes across your cycle, you can recognise the pattern that corresponds with when you ovulate.

You’re looking for a drop of .1 degrees, following by a rise of .4 degrees that’s sustained for at least three days. Not all women experience the temperature drop, but the raise corresponds with when you ovulate!

This obviously has some drawbacks, primarily in that you can only see when you ovulate it’s happened. What you can do is apply what you’ve learned to future cycles: if you have a regular cycle, and you’ve learned you ovulate fourteen days after your period, you can rely on ovulating fourteen days after your period in future! This means you can plan to try and conceive during the fertile days that start around five days before you ovulate.