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Ovulation Tests and Pregnancy Tests: Which Are the Best

What Are the Best Pregnancy and Ovulation Tests

Have You Thought About Using an Ovulation Test to Aid with Conception?

If you are considering using ovulation tests to help with conception you are probably wondering where to start, and which one to use. When you decide to start trying for a baby, naturally, you’ll be hoping for a short time to conception, or time to pregnancy (TTP). There are of course those lucky few who get pregnant on the first or second month of trying, but for most people, it can take longer. In fact, experts in family planning say up to a year of trying without getting pregnant is perfectly normal, but after that, it might be a good idea to see your doctor to rule out any issues preventing conception.

This doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong, or even that it’s anything serious, sometimes it just takes a bit longer. There may even be an underlying cause that is easy to “cure” and then find yourself conceiving very soon after. Of course, there will always be some hopeful parents who struggle to conceive and have to go through the IVF route. 

If you have seen your doctor and both you and your partner have been given the all-clear, it might mean you just need a bit more time or planning. For the latter, the one thing that can really help your journey is ovulation tests.

What Is Ovulation?

Ovulation is the part of your menstrual cycle when your ovary releases an egg, which then travels to your fallopian tube and waits to be fertilised by sperm. This usually happens on day 14 of your cycle, but if your cycle happens before 28 days or after 28 days, your ovulation can happen before day 14 or after. 

In my case, my period has never been every 28 days, but at least 34-36, so my ovulation would happen after day 14.

How Do Ovulation Tests Work?

Ovulation tests are very useful to accurately detect when your ovulation happens. Knowing this important information can drastically improve your chances of conceiving as you will know the opportune time to be intimate with your partner. The ovulation test will detect a rise in luteinizing hormone in the urine, which signals the ovary to release the egg. These tests can detect this moment taking the guesswork out of the equation.

When Is the Best Time to Have Sex During Ovulation?

Once you are about to ovulate the best time to have sex is between the 48-72 hours around ovulation. Once ovulation has stopped your chances of conceiving that month are considerably reduced. It’s also important to remember that sperm lives in you for about 5 days, so even if you were intimate 3 days before ovulation, you can still get pregnant. 

Are There Any Negatives to Using Ovulation Tests?

If you are considering using ovulation tests to help conceive the chances are you have already been trying for a while. However for some couples, using these tests can make the process feel somewhat regimented, in some cases even adding extra pressure to one or both partners. Although these tests can be very effective in pinpointing the most fertile days in a woman’s cycle, their use can present certain challenges:

  1. Added Pressure and Stress: Knowing when ovulation occurs can create pressure to have intercourse at set times/days, which for some can lead to stress, as well as result in a less spontaneous experience.
  2. Emotional Impact: Tracking things so accurately can be great for some things, but in this case, if you are still struggling to conceive over the course of several months, these negative results can become emotionally taxing.
  3. Routine Intercourse: Sex can quickly start to feel more like a task rather than an act of intimacy.

Balancing the use of these tests with maintaining intimacy and reducing stress is the key, but if the above bothers you and you don’t want to use tests the best time to have sex is every 2-3 days after you finish your period. This will help improve the chances of catching yourself at your most fertile time.

Which Ovulation Test to Use?

There are many ovulation tests available on the market. Some come as strips, but they can be very confusing to read since you need to interpret the color of the lines, which I found difficult. I recommend using a test that clearly shows when you are near ovulation or ovulating. For both of my pregnancies, after 5 months of not conceiving, I chose to use the test and got pregnant the same month I started, so I have had a very positive experience! I used the Clearblue ovulation test. There are two tests to choose from, and they are both digital. The first one, which costs slightly more, identifies 4 or more fertile days, and this is the one I used. The second one detects 2 of your most fertile days.

Since my periods were consistently late and varied in timing each month, I began using ovulation tests about 10 days after my period ended. This timing ensured that I wouldn’t miss my fertile window. If your menstrual cycle is regular, occurring every 28 days, you can start using ovulation tests approximately a week after your period ends.

The Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test resembles a pregnancy test in appearance and usage. Its instructions are straightforward, guiding users through the testing process and explaining how to interpret the results. A clear circle indicates low fertility, signaling a reduced chance of conception. Conversely, a flashing smiley face signifies high fertility, which is a green light to engage in intercourse for optimal chances of conceiving. The flashing smiley face disappears after 8 minutes. During peak fertility, a static smiley face appears and remains displayed for 48 hours, indicating a highly fertile period with increased chances of conception.

How About Pregnancy Tests?

When you are close to your expected period the anticipation of pregnancy can be quite stressful. For those wanting an answer sooner thankfully there are off-the-shelf pregnancy tests readily available at your pharmacist or even your local supermarket. Some women are happy to wait until their period is late, whilst others (myself included) have to run straight to the shop and buy a pregnancy test!

Pregnant woman with her partner showing results of pregnancy test

One of the most popular brands available is Clearblue which is available in digital and line versions. I would caution against the line version of this brand due to its tendency to produce ambiguous results, leading to uncertainty and perhaps more expense in buying additional tests to confirm pregnancy. In fact, many blue-line type pregnancy tests may yield false positives or unclear results. In my own experience, choosing a digital pregnancy test can help mitigate this issue.

If you are set on a line test I recommend First Response pregnancy tests, although this is purely based on my own opinion so it’s always worth talking with your friends or even in social media mum groups for a wider range of opinions. These pink-line tests tend to offer a clearer and more reliable result. I used one of these tests at 9 days post ovulation and it gave me a faint line indicating pregnancy. I personally never had a ghost line with this brand which led me to the conclusion that pink line tests are better.

It’s important to understand that the appearance of lines on the test is influenced by the concentration of the hCG hormone in your body. As days pass, the hormone level increases, resulting in darker lines. Testing too early may yield a negative result despite pregnancy, as some tests may not detect sufficient hCG levels at that time. In such cases, waiting 24-48 hours and retesting can provide a more accurate result.


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