Opk charting: a must for women trying to get pregnant
Tracking the menstrual cycle becomes an important part of the journey to getting pregnant. Even though there are several physical symptoms that insinuate the preparation of the body to ovulate, nothing can mark the exact time of ovulation.
Several tests have been devised to help women find out their approximate date of ovulation so that they can plan their intercourse in a way to escalate the chances of pregnancy. It is because women only have about 6 days( 5 days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation), called the fertile window when they can potentially get pregnant.
Ovulation Predictor kits are nowadays available in every other drug store and make ovulation testing seamless and handy. Here is everything you need to know about OPK charting.
Importance Of Ovulation
Women usually have a menstrual cycle of about 28 days. Around the 14th day, an egg is released from one of the ovaries in a process called ovulation. The egg dissolves within 24 hours. However, sperms can survive in the female reproductive system for 3-5 days. Tracking ovulation thus becomes significant for couples trying to get pregnant. It is because having the sperm waiting in the fallopian tube during ovulation elevates the chances of pregnancy.
However, if pregnancy does not happen, then the corpus luteum which is a temporary gland that forms after the egg is released from the ovary, keeps producing progesterone for about 10-16 days to maintain the inner uterine lining. Following that, the corpus luteum dissolves, and the lack of progesterone causes the uterine wall to shed, resulting in menstrual bleeding.
Before 24-36 hours of ovulation, there is a surge in the Luteinizing Hormone(LH). An OPK test detects this surge in LH to indicate women that they are going to ovulate soon.
What Is OPK
OPK stands for ovulation predictor kit. It usually consists of several test strips that can be used to conduct an at-home ovulation test. An Opk test has two different varieties; one is digital and one is paper strips.
Both the tests detect the LH surge in your urine. So, to conduct an at-home ovulation test, the common step is to urinate on the strip and let it absorb for a few minutes. After about 5-10 minutes( as mentioned in the manual), the results are displayed. In a digital test like Clearblue, a positive ovulation test result will be conveyed through a smiley and a negative result through an empty circle.
If you have taken the test on a more affordable paper strip, you will have to analyze the results manually. They are very similar to pregnancy test results. A single line indicates that the test is working properly and is called the control. However, you need to know that just seeing another line by the side of it does not mean that you got a positive ovulation test result.
The second line needs to be as dark as the first line or darker than that for you to be ovulating in the next few days. Reading the results is often not difficult. However, some prefer to rest their faith in apps that analyze the results through the pictures clicked by your phone’s camera. In such cases, it is important to keep in mind that, variation in the images from your actual test result due to varying light angles and other reasons might lead to inaccuracy.
When To Test For Ovulation
Opk charting becomes important for couples trying to get pregnant. Getting a positive result would mean that you are going to ovulate in 24-36 hours. This can tremendously help you in timing the intercourse so that the chances of getting pregnant increase.
Women usually ovulate around the middle of their cycle. Since the LH surge occurs about 24-36 hours before ovulation, it is evident that you will be required to start testing a few days prior to it. If you have regular periods, then it is most likely that you know the approximate date of your ovulation. Start testing 3-4 days prior to it. The LH surge has a very small window; not taking the test meticulously might cause you to miss it.
If you have a 28-day cycle, then your ovulation is most likely to occur on the 14th day of your cycle. To be on the safe side, it is recommended to start testing from the 11th day. If you suffer from PCOD or irregular periods due to any other underlying health conditions, then it is best to consult your doctor and find out the time you should start opk charting every month while trying to get pregnant.
Things To Consider
You can take an ovulation test at any point of the day. The matter of concern is how concentrated your urine is with LH. While for some, testing with the first urine of the morning works the best, for some, the first urine of the day gives a false negative.
It happens primarily because, after the LH surge, it takes about 4 hours for the hormone to be detected by the tests. To steer clear of confusion, it is better to test twice a day so that you do not miss the surge. However, it is advised to not consume any fluid or urinate 4 hours prior to taking the test.
To get accurate results, it is equally important to follow the instruction in the manual. In case you have PCOS, take note that sometimes you might get a positive result despite not ovulating. It can happen due to random hormonal fluctuations. If your ovulation tests come out negative for a month or two, do visit your doctor to find out the cause.
Opk charting is accurate, affordable and an easy method to track your cycle and time the intercourse if you are planning to get pregnant. Though it is highly accurate, sometimes there can be inaccuracies due to errors in taking the test or some underlying health conditions that can mimic ovulation.
Combining the test with BBT ( basal body temperature) charting and the cervical mucus analysis can help you gain better command over your bodily processes. In addition to all these at-home tests, you must prioritize staying in touch with your doctor to clarify doubts and follow their tips for getting pregnant in the safest way possible.