Ovulation Tests

There's a variety of tools to detect signs of ovulation

When you're trying to get pregnant, your life begins to revolve around ovulation. It's strange to think that such a small episode can demand such a big chunk of your concentration, but you'll find yourself devoting a surprising amount of attention to that small window in your cycle, trying to take full advantage of the momentous event. Timing is everything, and you'll likely always have an eye on the clock.

However, some approaches to tracking your ovulation are better than others, and many of the best methods rest in your familiarity with your own body. Find out which tools will help the most and which may mislead more than assist -- soon you'll be able to track your changes in fertility through your cycle and maximize your chances of conception.

Are There Reliable Ovulation Predictor Tests?

Your body will almost certainly send out signs that you're ovulating. For some, these signals come in loud and clear, but for others they're quiet whispers. There is really no one ovulation test that overrides all others. Rather, you can better arrive at an accurate result when you use a few different approaches.

Begin by monitoring the physical changes in your body. Has your cervical mucus become clear and stretchy, sort of like egg white? Can you tell that your cervix has become soft and open? These are good signs that your ovary has released an egg or is just about to. Right after ovulation, your basal body temperature may also increase a little bit, so you may want to consider investing in a basal body thermometer to stay on top of the slight shifts that can indicate when you're most fertile.

When it comes to ovulation, it's all about tracking patterns. Physical symptoms throughout your cycle, temperature peaks and valleys, even the salt content in your saliva can become telltale signs of ovulation. You can choose to simply pay close attention to your body over a few cycles to get an idea of what's happening when, or else you can invest time and money in high-tech devices to help find the definitive answer you're after.

Using an Ovulation Calculator versus an Ovulation Kit

You'll get the most out of an ovulation calendar, chart or calculator if your cycle is regular; if your period comes at different times each month, it will be considerably more difficult to figure out which days you'll be ovulating in your next cycle. Figure out the length of your cycle and then consult an online chart or calculator to find out which days you most likely will be ovulating.

An ovulation kit is a better option for those who experience irregular cycles. The first type of kit tests your urine for luteinizing hormone, or LH, which can increase substantially one or two days before you ovulate. The other type of ovulation kit will test your saliva for a high concentration of salt -- salty saliva is related to rising levels of the estrogen hormone. But while the tests can be insightful tools, they are not always as accurate as you hope: you'll need to collect your urine around the same time each day, being careful to limit your liquid intake. Also, any hormonal medication can affect the results of the test, and many women experience false surges of LH or salty saliva at other times in the cycle.

Tracking ovulation can be challenging, and if you have not been able to conceive for more than a year, it's a good idea to visit your doctor for some blood tests. Since ovulation can seem rather unpredictable, patience and commitment will be your best tools in your pursuit of pregnancy.