Predicting ovulation is the holy grail for every anxiously aspiring parent – you can only get pregnant when you’re trying within a window of time defined by when you ovulate. Sperm, which can survive in the body for four to five days has to encounter a fertile egg, which remains active for up to twenty four hours after it’s released by the ovaries.
If you’re trying to get pregnant within a certain period (so you can take maternity leave at an ideal time, or to fit in with a house move, for example) or you’re trying to combat a condition that affects your fertility, like PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) it’s vital to not just identify when you are ovulating, but also predict it!
There are plenty systems that promise to predict your ovulation for you, but you need to research each one and make sure you’re making the right choice for you. They all have different advantages and disadvantages, and while an ovulation test kit might be the perfect solution for one person, there’s every chance it won’t meet your needs so it won’t give you good results.
Hormone Testing Kits
One of the most widespread methods for predicting ovulation is the hormone testing kit. They’re available from most supermarkets and chemists, so easy availability is a point in their favour. They work like home pregnancy tests, by checking your urine for hormones, so they’re non-invasive and as long you don’t mind the slightly undignified method of peeing onto a stick, it’s convenient too!
The downsides are that this is something of a ‘one size fits all’ approach: if your hormonal background doesn’t match the average the test is configured for it might give you bad results. Some woman have naturally high or low levels of the relevant hormone, so while they might be ovulating on a regular schedule, the test simply can’t pick it!
If you have a hormone based condition, like PCOS then these tests become even less useful. Given this, it’s hard to recommend them at all.
Basal Body Temperature
A more accurate measure is your basal body temperature. This is the low, base temperature your body falls to in sleep. Taking your temperature first thing in the morning lets you spot the patterns of change as it responds to your menstrual cycle, with a dip just before ovulation and then a 72 hour rise of .2 degrees immediately afterwards.
While taking that temperature accurately isn’t always easy, there’s specialist devices available that no only help you get the best readings but also take the burden of turning those statistics into predictions that can help you get prediction. With one of these devices on your side, we’d recommend Basal Body Temperature as the best predictor for ovulation!