If you’re considering buying an ovulation monitor, you need to know what they do, and how one can help you to make sure you’re making an informed choice. Today we’re taking a look at these devices to ensure you’re making the right choice, and coming away with something that will help you to get pregnant.
What do Ovulation Monitors Do?
Ovulation monitors help you to identify when you’re going to ovulate. Some simply give you a yes or no answer to the question ‘am I ovulating today?’. Others are more sophisticated and chart the changes in your body across a full cycle, to give you an update on where you are today as well as a prediction of when you will ovulate next.
Knowing when you ovulate is very important when you’re trying to get pregnant. You can only conceive if sperm encounter the egg within 24 hours of it being ovulated (or sooner, depending on the health of the egg. For some women, there’s only twelve hours after ovulation before the egg ceases to be viable). Sperm have a longer lifespan – of up to five days. This means when you’ve identified the date you’re going to ovulate, you can work out your six day ‘fertile window’ when you have the best possible chance of conceiving.
How Do They Work?
There are two primary ways for ovulation monitors to detect when your body is reaching the centrepoint of your menstrual cycle. Some measure your hormones, others work with your body’s core temperature.
Hormone based tests work by looking for the hormones that your body uses to cue your ovaries to ovulate. The most common tests (ovulation predictor kits or OPKs) check your urine for the surge of LH (Luteinising Hormone) that causes the egg to be released – they work very similarly to pregnancy tests. You need to immerse a test stick into your urine and then watch to see if a line appears indicating whether or not you are ovulating.
More sophisticated OPKs process your results digitally and give you a less difficult to interpret answer and other hormone based tests check your saliva, looking for high levels of oestrogen and electrolytes. The drawback to these methods of finding out when you’re ovulating is that they’re not always accurate. If you naturally have a low level of LH then the test may not be able to register when you’re ovulating, and if you have a condition that affects your hormones, like PCOS, then it may not be able to provide a result at all.
Your Basal Body Temperature is the low level your core temperature drops to while you rest and your metabolism drops to its minimum. Across the length of your cycle, the precise temperature of your BBT changes in response to what’s happening in your body. If you can recognize the pattern than shows when your body is gearing up to ovulate, you can predict when you’re going to be at your most fertile.
Modern BBT thermometers come with app integration, so you can see the results easily, and get a personalized prediction that helps you to get pregnant faster!