Most of us spend the majority of our young womanhood avoiding our monthly cycle. But everything we ever knew about Aunt Flo and her monthly visit totally changes the second we start trying to conceive. All of a sudden, knowing when she’s due to arrive is paramount for predicting just when we’re most fertile. That’s because ovulation occurs approximately 12-14 days after your last period and before your next. This window of time that you can technically get pregnant, known as the ovulation window, is surprisingly short — lasting around 3-5 days on average.
Most women with regular cycles (a period occurring every 28 days, plus or minus seven days), can ballpark when they’re going to ovulate but might miss their window, given its short, not always timely nature. That’s where ovulation tests and predictor kits come in handy. Often through a urine sample, they detect a hormone called LH, or luteinizing hormone, which surges at the peak of ovulation.
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How do ovulation tests work?
“Every month, at the start of your cycle (counted as cycle day 1 from the first day of full flow), you have a group of resting ‘follicles’ in the ovaries, or tiny sacks of fluid that house a resting egg,” explains Anate Brauer, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Greenwich Fertility and IVF Centers and assistant professor of OB/GYN at NYU School of Medicine. “If you have regular cycles, your brain kicks into gear and makes a hormone called FSH, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, which then stimulates one of these follicles to grow and the egg inside to mature.” As this follicle grows and the egg matures, it produces the hormone estrogen, which tells the brain to stop making FSH and start making a different hormone called LH, luteinizing hormone, AKA the marker ovulation kits look for in the urine.
What types of ovulation tests are available?
Tina Koopersmith, MD, REI, reproductive endocrinologist, gynecologist, fertility specialist, and the founder of the West Coast Women’s Reproductive Center in Southern California, prefers the kits that show two lines rather than the newer more digitized versions. “The lines help us be more aware of the changes as they are happening,” she explains. “With these kits, a woman sees the subtle changes, while with digitized kits, she would just have days and days of high and no peak, and the cycle might be missed or wasted.” Some women prefer the digital kits, which track and chart more information and can provide a more thorough and accurate picture of their cycle and ovulation trends.
Whether you’re trying for baby #1, #2, or #5, here are the best of the best ovulation kits to help you get pregnant ASAP.
For a fraction of the price of most digital ovulation predictor kits, you can score this top-rated (like almost 45,000 five-star reviews) one that allows you to do all the testing you want. The tests are easy to use (urine-based) and easy to read (just make sure the test line is as dark or darker than the control line) and they provide you with a helpline to call should you run into any issues. The kit comes with 50 strips and you can connect to their Free Premom Ovulation Calculator app to cross-check your ovulation pattern through the process.
One Reviewer Wrote: “These tests were really accurate and clear, easy to follow and understand. Download the app! The app was amazing and really helpful in keeping track of the levels of LH as well as the charts and graphs that the app makes for you with the overlay of LH levels and BBT, which just [makes] it so much easier to follow and see exactly what’s going on. This was our first cycle using these tests and the app and we ended up conceiving.” — Jessica P.
While some old-school ovulation tests will have you simply pee on a stick and call it a day, Clearblue Connected Ovulation Test System goes the extra mile by showing instant results on their Clearblue® Connected app (it’s compatible with iPhone or Android via Bluetooth), which also reminds users of when they should test and keeps a record of all their results — important things like your last period, when you last had intercourse, and so forth. It even sends you a reminder for when it is time to take a pregnancy test. Each kit comes with 25 tests and also provides you with access to a free helpline (1-800-321-3279) that you can call if you have any questions or concerns about the app or your results. Talk about making life simple.
One Reviewer Wrote: “My boyfriend and I tried for almost a year to get pregnant. After using this for one month, we got pregnant! Turns out I was ovulating on a completely different day [than] the regular test detected. This advanced test really works. I’m 28 weeks pregnant now and could not be happier.” — Karen R.
If you’re hoping to track your ovulation for the long haul—i.e. several months to a year—this is the kit for you. It contains 40 ovulation test strips along with 10 early-detection pregnancy test strips. These FDA-approved test strip duo, which includes both ovulation and pregnancy tests, are the same tests used in most clinics and doctors’ offices made by fertility market giant Fairhaven Health. The tests are pretty self-explanatory—simply dip the strip into urine (be it a cup or stream) for five seconds, lay the test on a flat surface, and check the results in as little as 10 minutes.
One Reviewer Wrote: “These are my favorite tests! I have a YouTube channel (Auntie Em) where I test with a lot of different tests, but these are my staple and my go-to every cycle. These are also the control for when I try new tests because I know this test will never let me down! They have never given me a false positive or an evap line. Excellent tests!” — Emilee B.
Pregmate works like pretty much every other ovulation test—by detecting the amount of luteinizing hormone in your body. Once it hits a surge, it means you’ll likely be ovulating some 24 to 48 hours later. What’s different—and great—about this ovulation predictor kit is its ease of use (and user-friendly packaging). The process is simple—use the chart that the test provides to determine when you should start testing based on your menstrual cycle. Pee on one of the strips that the kit provides for 3 seconds and then wait and see your results. If you spot two color bands, and the test band is as dark or darker than the control, it’s time to get busy!
One Reviewer Wrote: “Both times I had a positive test, I conceived a child. My husband and I were trying for 7 months. I had been tracking ovulation through an app on my phone. It was not working. The first time I had a positive test from these strips, it resulted in my daughter. Fast forward 18 months, and we were ready for another. We tried again, just using my phone app. Didn’t work. Bought another box of these as the other was expired. Once again, the first positive strip resulted in my current pregnancy. I recommend using an app the pinpoint the fertility window and then using the strips during that window (to not waste strips).” — Amazon Customer
There are no hidden tricks involved when it comes to how this ovulation test works. It’s the same paper strip that you pee on, but it reveals your results in 5 minutes or less compared to the 10 it takes for some competitors. Like the rest, the test line simply has to be darker than the control line and, if so, it signals that you’re ovulating in the next 24 to 48 hours. Pretty simple and basic, which is why it’s nice to score enough strips (50) for just $15 so you can test your cycle year-round (and likely longer).
One Reviewer Wrote: “These are the best for people trying to get pregnant as they cost 1/4 the price of Clearblue Easy and they work. For those of us who need to track ovulation month after month, particularly with an irregular cycle, the cost of ovulation tests can really add up, so I’m relieved to have this reasonably priced alternative. I can assure you these work as I use them in conjunction with blood and ultrasound monitoring at my fertility doctor. I use these tests around the time of [the] month I might be ovulating and once it detects an LH surge I go to my doctor to confirm and the [Wondfo] tests have never been wrong.” — SGS
If you’ve been TTC for some time, you know how expensive it can be. Even before a baby arrives, there are plenty of tests to be taken, and doctor’s appointments to schedule. This kit from femometer takes some of the financial sting out of it. With 40 ovulation tests and 10 pregnancy tests, it’s a great way to save some money while getting accurate results. It’s over 99% accurate, and even has an app that can make tracking even easier.
One Reviewer Wrote: “I’ve been charting my cycle for FAM birth control for years, but recently switched to TTC so I started actually testing for my LH peak. These strips are inexpensive and you get a lot of them in the pack – so if you’re like me and can’t help but test multiple times a day, you can! They’re the same size as any other “internet cheapie” dip stick, and easy to read. You will need a urine collection cup – I keep a teacup in my bathroom dedicated to that purpose.” — Kaybee
This ovulation kit from Modern Fertility will help you learn more about your cycle, which is essential if you’re trying to conceive. These tests have a 99% accuracy level, and are easy to read. The company recommends testing in the afternoon for the best results. You can also sync tests up with the Modern Fertility app to make it even easier. Even if you’re not trying to have kids right away, the test will give you a lot of information that’ll be helpful when you’re ready.
One Reviewer Wrote: “I ordered these to track my cycle after stopping oral BC that I had taken for a long time. We will be TTC here shortly and I wanted to wait until my cycles had normalized again before doing so. I really liked that these strips allowed me to ‘nerd out’ so to speak. I liked being able to see a sliding scale of how close I was to ovulation. I also liked how integrated and easy to use the app was. There are other cheaper options out there as far as strips and third-party apps, but this is a really nice and well thought out all-in-one option.” — RW
It only takes ten seconds (and a cup of urine, naturally) to get results with these ovulation tests. Like many of the other options, Natural Cycles also has an app to make the process as smooth as possible. So, what sets these apart, exactly? Natural Cycles is FDA-approved, and its app is backed by scientific studies. They can also be purchased with your FSA/HSA card. If you aren’t ready for kids just yet, you can also use these tests as a good secondary form of birth control — these can really help you get to know your body a little better.
One Reviewer Wrote: “I bought these to use along with the Natural Cycles app. They are a great addition and help the app’s algorithm target my ovulation so I can avoid pregnancy. Hands down, this is the best birth-control method I’ve ever used!” — B. Smith
Don’t forget to stock up on these pregnancy essentials that’ll come in handy during those nine months and beyond.
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