Home Pregnancy Tests
In ancient Egyptian times, women who wanted to know if they were expecting a baby had their own version of an at-home pregnancy test. Think you might be pregnant? Learn more about how to take a pregnancy test.
A small percentage of women with normal-length cycles (between 24 and 34 days) don’t always ovulate within the expected timeframe (14 days before the start of their next period), which means a test may miss the surge. Some women don’t ovulate at all. Experts recommend you see a physician if you don’t see a surge after three months of using the kits.
Still other women may see the surge each month and find they’re ovulating normally, but are still unable to get pregnant. “A test may tell you month after month that you’re ovulating perfectly, but there are other age-related conditions, such as blocked tubes, that could be preventing you from conceiving,” says Diane Clapp, R.N., B.S.N, medical information director for Resolve: The National Infertility Association. That’s another reason to see a physician if pregnancy doesn’t occur.
Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor:
Electronic urine-test ovulation monitors are newer to the market and demand more for their high-tech capabilities. Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor retails for around $200 for the actual monitor, and then you must also buy the test sticks, which cost an additional $50 for 30 of them. The advantage of these more expensive monitors, says Nancy O’Malley, who runs the online fertility resource store, The Fertility Shop (www.thefertilityshop.com), where many of these items can be purchased “is that they allow you to establish a bigger fertility window because you get to see changes as estrogen levels begin to rise, rather than right before when LH levels surge.” And since sperm can live for 72 hours, there’s a benefit to widening the 24 to 36 hour window that you typically get with other urine-based tests.
. . .With Sweat
The newest ovulation-tracking device (launched in February) to get FDA-approval is the OV Watch. This watch is equipped with a sensor that measures the amount of chloride excreted in sweat. Increasing levels of chloride precede the hormonal surges that signal ovulation, offering women advance notice that ovulation will occur within the next few days. In order to get an accurate reading, the watch must be set (or re-set) on days 1, 2, or 3 of a woman’s menstrual period. Then it should be worn for at least six hours each night, while sleeping, until it indicates the fertile phase. A starter kit, which includes the watch plus a three-month supply of sensors, costs $249. For more information visit www.ovwatch.com or call 1-877-249-BABY (2229).
. . .With Basal Body Temperature
Basal body temperature (BBT) monitoring is yet another way to track ovulation. A woman uses a special, extra-sensitive thermometer to take her temperature (either rectally or orally) each day, first thing in the morning. A rise in temperature of approximately half a degree Fahrenheit, lasting at least three days, usually indicates ovulation. Increasing estrogen levels are responsible for the extra heat.
If you opt to use BBT monitoring, you’ll have to follow instructions carefully in order to get an accurate reading. You’ll need to take your temperature every morning, after at least three to four hours of solid sleep, before you do anything, including getting out of bed. Other things that can throw off the accuracy of BBT readings: “Illness, lack of sleep, excessive alcohol intake, and stress can all elevate BBT,” says Diane Clapp. And because BBT monitoring can only tell you when you’ve ovulated—as opposed to when you’re about to—it doesn’t work as an ovulation predictor. In other words, you’ll learn something about your cycle, but you won’t be able to take advantage of that knowledge right away by timing sexual intercourse for conception.