OBGYN and fertility expert Dr. Gleaton breaks down how the time of day might affect the accuracy of your ovulation test. 

 

By Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

If you’re trying to get pregnant, you’re likely going to start using ovulation tests. Fortunately, these jargon-free instructions make them easy to use, taking out the guesswork and increasing your chances of conceiving. 

Why do I need ovulation tests in the first place?

Ovulation tests are extremely helpful when you’re trying to get pregnant, as they can predict when you (you guessed it) are ovulating. Your eggs only live up to a day after they’re released, leaving a rather short period of time for the magic to happen and for fertilization to occur. If you use ovulation tests correctly, they’re 99% effective in detecting the proper hormone surges and helping you find the ideal time to try to conceive.  

What is the best time of day to take an ovulation test?

Many women exclusively test for ovulation and pregnancy in the morning, however it’s not the time of day that’s important, but how diluted your urine is. This is also why it’s important you avoid grabbing that water bottle before taking an ovulation test. The more concentrated your urine is, the higher the chances are of accurately detecting luteinizing hormone, AKA the ovulation hormone. The best thing you can do is to test at the same time each day until the test line is almost as dark as the control line. At that point, try testing twice a day just to make sure you don’t miss your surge. 

Chances of getting pregnant each day

Using ovulation tests should be helpful, not stressful. It doesn’t need to be an exact science where you’re forced to perform as soon as you get a positive test. As you can see from the chart below, the average woman still has a 30% chance of conceiving even two days before ovulation. Because sperm can live inside a woman’s body for up to five days, having sex leading up to your day of ovulation can still lead to pregnancy. 

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What else can affect ovulation test results?

  • Certain medical conditions: hormonal medical conditions may affect the test’s ability to predict ovulation. These can include pregnancy (including a chemical pregnancy), post-partum, menopause, breastfeeding, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Women with medically diagnosed fertility problems should ask their physicians if this product is suitable for them.
  • Medications: specifically, hormonal medications such as birth control pills or fertility drugs. Ask your doctor for more information about your situation. If you’re taking medication like clomiphene citrate (e.g. Clomid) or letrozole, ask your doctor about how and when to use these tests.
  • Following instructions incorrectly: this can include waiting too long to read the results, not fully saturating the testing strip, etc. 

Takeaways

  • Ovulation tests are extremely helpful when trying to conceive.
  • To get the most accurate results, it’s important to follow instructions perfectly and to test when your urine isn’t too diluted.
  • Certain medications and hormonal conditions could affect ovulation test results, so be sure to talk with your doctor about your plans to use ovulation tests.