Nestled right next to the pregnancy tests in your local drugstore, you’ll find these curious things -- ovulation tests. In fact, they’ve probably gone unnoticed by you for a good portion of your life.
Obviously the most common reason these are plucked from that shelf are for women who have reached that point in life when they are ready to have a baby. But as we all know, that first starts with conceiving.
Women use these to help time sex with their partners for what they hope is the best case scenario for sperm joining together with egg, to divide and multiply into a fetus.
But recently I have noticed another group of ladies who are picking up these tests. Women who have the opposite goal — avoiding pregnancy.
And it is because of this that I feel compelled to touch on this topic today.
Right off the bat I’m going to say it:
Ovulation strips should not be part of your birth control method.
And what I mean by this is they should not be a factor in your calculation of when you are fertile/not fertile.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use them. I’ll talk about that in a moment.
Ovulation tests or OPK’s (ovulation predictor kits) work by detecting the surge in your luteinizing hormone that causes the matured egg to burst from the follicle that it has been growing in.
You can see why these would be very beneficial to women trying to conceive. Knowing when this surge is can help you time sex better. One the LH surge is detected successful fertilization is most likely going to happen one to three days following.
And if you can recall another fact I’ve talked about before — sperm can survive in a fertile vagina for up to five days. And your most fertile cervical fluid is going to happen right before ovulation.
But this fact also goes to show how relying on ovulation tests to avoid pregnancy can easily go wrong. By the time you have that LH surge unprotected sex in the day or two before that matters.
This is why cervical fluid matters so much in detecting the beginning of your fertile phase.
Because when you have ovulated in the past, doesn’t matter when trying to guess when you’re going to ovulate on that particular cycle.
It’s not about the length of a cycle, it is all about cervical fluid and temperature on a daily basis, alongside a set of rules, to know where you are in your fertile phases.
But so long as you aren’t relying on OPK’s for “birth control” there is no harm in trying them out for fun.
We’re curious creatures. And awhile back I really wanted to know if I was ovulating around that time I thought I was because of my fertility signs.
So, I bought some of the very basic, very inexpensive ovulation test strips off of Amazon and started dipping them into a cup of my urine every morning starting with my follicular phase just to see.
And would you guess what?
I was ovulating exactly when my fluid and temperature said I was.
What I’m saying here is that if you’re either trying to conceive or just curious go ahead, use some ovulation strips.
But if you’re trying to incorporate them into your birth control method, no don’t do that. I cringe and worry every time I hear someone say they are a part of their decision making process.
If you want to chart your cycle as a natural form of birth control, yay, welcome to the club! But please learn an actual method. Learn it completely, and practice it as you are supposed to.
No frankenstein-ing your own method together please.