When should I begin testing with home urine tests?
Most home pregnancy tests that check urine beta-HCG are sensitive to 20-25 mIU/ml of HCG. The general rule-of thumb is to test at the time when you are a day late for your menses or about 15 days after ovulation. The test can be positive anywhere from about 2-3 days prior to a missed menses to 4-5 days after.
Testing really does depend upon how regular your menses are or in other words how regular ovulation occurs. If you tend to be late (longer than 28 days) with your periods or the timing of menses varies by several days each cycle, then it is better not to waste pregnancy tests by testing at day 28-29 after the last period starts.
Are ovulation prediction tests worth doing?
Pelvic ultrasound looking at the ovaries is considered the gold standard in ovulation prediction in a research setting but obviously in a practical application of a woman trying to conceive, ultrasound is not used.
Urinary LH testing has been shown to have a 100% correlation with ultrasound as far as predicting the timing of ovulation (3). In that same study, they looked at cervical mucous changes, basal body temperature (BBT) charts and salivary ferning. Cervical mucous changes only had a correlation of 48%, salivary ferning correlated 37% and BBT has a 30% correlation.
For the home tests that measure LH surge that immediately precedes ovulation, detection of LH occurs at above 30 mIU/ml. This means that women with polycystic ovarian syndrome who have slightly higher resting LH values are still not falsely detected as ovulating.
The urinary LH spike occurs about 24-36 hours prior to ovulation so it is very useful for women trying to conceive because it gives them a window of warning. The test will show positive for one or two days and rarely 3 days if you catch a spike right at the beginning and it is a large release of LH.
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