What Time Is Best for Ovulation Test?

Ovulation tests are a brilliant way to stay on top of your cycle and time your baby-making for a successful pregnancy. But how do they work and when should you take one? We’ve got all the answers.

How Do Ovulation Tests Work?

Ovulation tests track the levels of a specific hormone in your urine that is produced at a certain point in your menstrual cycle that signals ovulation is occurring.

There are 3 phases in the menstrual cycle:

  • Follicular
  • Ovulatory
  • Luteal

The follicular phase is the period of bleeding caused by the lack of progesterone and oestrogen in the body, which is then followed by the ovulatory phase, caused by an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH). Towards the end of the ovulatory phase, your body releases an egg ready to be fertilised; this is the period in which you can conceive.

Since the egg is only viable for one day after ovulation, there are very few days in which you can get pregnant, known as the fertile window, which is why ovulation tests are so important to help you know the best time for conception.

Instant ovulation tests test your urine for the presence of LH to inform you that you are about to start ovulating so you can have intercourse, as your fertile window includes a few days before the egg is released because sperm can live up to 5 days in the female reproductive system, so it can wait for the egg to be released.

There are other ways of measuring ovulation, such as period tracking apps, however, not everyone’s menstrual cycle is regular, so they’re not as reliable as testing LH levels with an ovulation test, as they don’t note the physiological changes in your body.

Getting Pregnant

So how do you time an ovulation test to get pregnant?

Since a regular cycle lasts between 21 and 35 days, it’s not as simple as saying your ovulation will always occur on day 14, however, you can estimate an ovulation date if your cycle is usually a specific length. In this case, it’s best to start having sex a week before this date and take a rapid ovulation test 4 to 5 days before, to pick up on an LH surge and ensure you cover the whole fertile window.

If you have irregular cycles, then you can start taking tests as soon as your period ends to make sure you know exactly when you’re about to start ovulating.

Should I Take an Ovulation Test in the Morning or at Night?

Now you know when in your cycle to take an ovulation test, but what time of day should you take one? A study on women’s luteinizing hormone levels shows that LH surges take place between midnight and 8 am, showing in urine from 3 to 6 hours later. This means that LH levels can start showing in urine in the morning until mid-afternoon, so the best time of day to take your ovulation test is in the morning.

As liquid dilutes the amount of LH in the urine, it’s best to test your second wee of the morning before having anything to drink, as the luteinizing hormone will show up more reliably on the test.

You can also take an ovulation test twice a day to make sure you don’t miss your LH surge, just make sure to control your liquid intake for around an hour beforehand.

What If I Have an Irregular Period?

Almost a quarter of women have irregular menstrual cycles, and cycles can still vary by a few days for women who have regular cycles, so it’s not always easy to predict when your ovulation day might be. Understandably, you don’t want to keep limiting your liquid intake to take ovulation tests for your whole menstrual cycle either. 

If your cycles are usually shorter or longer than 28 days, then you can still work out a midpoint, from which you can then work out to start ovulation testing 4 to 5 days prior. However, if your cycle is regularly irregular, you’ll have to test more often - usually from the very end of your period - to ensure you catch your fertile window.

Although, while you can’t necessarily feel when you ovulate, you can still track your body’s changes to notice when ovulation is about to occur.

Ovulation Symptoms Can Include:

  • Change in vaginal discharge to feel slippery and have a consistency like egg white
  • Increase in basal body temperature
  • Increase in sex drive
  • Mild pelvic pain
  • Spotting

Not every woman will experience all of these symptoms, however, you can pay attention to your own body’s changes and begin to roughly predict when you’re approaching ovulation.

Importance of Rapid Testing

The LH surge can take place very quickly, so if you miss the chance to test in the few days before ovulation, you might miss out on the best time to conceive. That’s why rapid ovulation tests are the perfect solution to keep track of your fertile window.

What’s more, the sooner you take the test after your LH surge, the more likely you’ll get a positive result so you can have intercourse and increase your chances of pregnancy. Similarly, if you take a rapid PCR test or Covid-19 antigen test as soon as you develop symptoms, you can isolate yourself before you put anybody else at risk of contracting the virus. You can still register for Covid-19 tests now, or visit any of our test centres.

Luckily, we also have a high-tech laboratory management software that keeps all of our test results recorded and delivered safely and speedily.

How to Confirm Ovulation

One factor that needs to be made clear is that ovulation tests pick up on LH levels in the urine, although an LH surge doesn’t always mean ovulation will take place for all women. So sometimes we have to be aware of our body’s changes and monitor them closely.

To confirm ovulation you can:

  • Track basal body temperature (BBT)
  • Have an ultrasound

As well as monitoring your ovulation symptoms, tracking your basal body temperature is the easiest way of identifying your fertile window alongside an ovulation test.

Keep a thermometer on your bedside and take your temperature orally every morning before getting up to ensure it’s taken at the same time every day and uninfluenced by outside factors. As your luteinizing hormone levels increase dramatically during ovulation, so does your body temperature, so if you have a positive ovulation test and a high BBT (not above 37.8°C - this may indicate a fever) then your fertile window is open for business!

Ultrasounds are not commonly used to confirm ovulation as they’re impractical and expensive, however, if you’re eager to find out if you are ovulating, you can have a transvaginal or transabdominal ultrasound to check the size of your follicles. Sometimes ultrasounds are done over several days throughout the menstrual cycle to track the change in size of the follicles.

Best Rapid Ovulation Test

The best rapid ovulation test is one that is 99% accurate and 100% affordable, like our Instant Ovulation Test.

As experts in medical testing, Official Rapid Tests produce some of the UK’s best and most easy-to-use self-tests, as well as having a laboratory full of experts ready to help you with a broad range of medical queries. Don’t believe us? See what other people have had to say in our reviews.