Wondering if you can still use ovulation tests after experiencing pregnancy loss? Dr. Gleaton shares how ovulation tests work and what to keep in mind when using OPKs after a miscarriage.
By OBGYN and fertility expert Dr. Kenosha Gleaton
Experiencing a miscarriage is a difficult and emotional journey. When and if you feel ready to try again, ovulation tests can be very useful. Let’s talk more about how they work and what to keep in mind when using OPKs after a miscarriage.
Using ovulation tests to identify your fertile window
If you’re trying to conceive, ovulation tests are a very effective way to predict when you’re ovulating. Since eggs only live for a short period of time after ovulation, it’s important to time it correctly so you can have sex before ovulating and increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Regardless which type of test you’re using—midstream, ovulation test strips, digital tests—they all work by detecting the ovulation hormone, Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in your urine. LH is produced to trigger ovulation, so your levels will typically surge around 24-48 hours before you ovulate. This means a positive ovulation test is telling you you’ll be ovulating within the next two days, so you should start getting busy if you’re TTC.
Why LH is affected by miscarriage
When a woman experiences a miscarriage, hormone levels aren’t going to immediately reset. This means that for a while, your cycle (and ovulation) may be less predictable. Some women ovulate the month following a miscarriage, while others may not ovulate for a few months. Ovulation tests can be helpful for tracking your cycle and identifying your fertile days.
When should I start testing for ovulation after a miscarriage?
If you’re trying to conceive after a miscarriage, you may be wondering when to start testing for ovulation again. It’s better to wait at least one to two weeks (or however long your doctor tells you) before having penetrative vaginal sex to reduce the risk of infection, but after that wait is up there is no medical reason to wait to conceive. Wait until you’ve had your first period and then begin testing for ovulation using ovulation tests.
What to keep in mind when using ovulation tests after miscarriage
It can be really difficult to heal after you’ve experienced a miscariage, but when you feel ready to start trying to conceive again, ovulation tests can be very helpful in identifying your fertile window. You shouldn’t expect to fall back into your regular cycle immediately though. According to ACOG, some women may ovulate within a month after a miscarriage if it was within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. If the miscarriage occurs later, it’s possible it could take longer for hormone levels to return to normal, delaying ovulation.
Is it safe to get pregnant immediately after a misscarriage?
According to the ACOG, there’s no medical reason to wait to conceive again. Although it is recommended you wait 1-2 weeks after pregnancy loss to insert anything into the vagina (including vaginal intercourse) to decrease the risk of infection. It may also be helpful to wait until you’ve had a period so tracking your cycle is easier.
When to talk to your OBGYN
If you experienced a miscarriage and your menstrual cycle hasn’t resumed after eight weeks, you should consult your OBGYN. You may also want to see a doctor or fertility specialist if you’ve had multiple recurrent miscarriages; this doesn’t mean there is a significant issue, but your doctor may want to run some tests to screen for things like STIs, diabetes, thyroid issues, progesterone issues, clotting disorders, and more.
- Ovulation tests are useful tools for determining when you’re most likely to get pregnant.
- Ovulation tests work by detecting LH, luteinizing hormone, in your urine.
- After a miscarriage, it can take up to a month or sometimes more for ovulation to resume.
- If you’ve had multiple miscarriages or haven’t resumed your menstrual cycle after two months, you should consult a doctor.