Knowing when you ovulate is important. If you’re trying to get pregnant, identifying and even predicting when you’re next going to ovulate helps you to find the next time you need to try to conceive – your so called ‘fertile window’. Even if you’re not trying to conceive, knowing when you ovulate is valuable: it helps you to understand your cycle, and spot when it’s becoming irregular. This can happen due to stress, medical conditions and even as a side effect of medication you’re taking for unrelated reasons. Your whole menstrual cycle from your period to ovulation is driven by hormones, so anything that can affect your endocrine system could have a knock on effect on when you ovulate.
Fortunately, in 2019, you have lots of options for you how you do this – and many of them let you use your phone to get up to date predictions of when ovulation is due. Some apps simply ask you to enter information into your phone and it calculates a prediction for you, while others link up monitors or sensors and use data direct from your body. It’s an advanced fertility monitor like this that can give you the best results, and the most accurate prediction of when you’re going to ovulate.
Some of these systems work with an advanced form of what are known as Ovulation Predictor Kits, or OPKS. These track the hormones in your urine in order to anticipate when you’re going to ovulate. The app read out on your phone will show the levels of the hormone – LH, the luteinising hormone that stimulates your ovaries to release an egg, and will alert you when it detects the spike that indicates ovulation.
There are drawbacks to this approach. Not everyone’s levels of LH are the same – if you have particular strong or weak surges of the hormones then OPKs, however high tech, can register false positives or negatives, even when you are ovulating. Another drawback is that surge in Luteinising Hormone OPKs look for happens when you ovulate: by the time you’re alerted to it, the egg is already released and the clock is ticking.
Your basal body temperature offers a better measure. Fertility kits come with specialised sensors that can take your temperature at regular intervals right through the night. They feed the data to your phone and use a cloud-based algorithm to turn that data into accurate prediction regardless of your hormone levels – this can really give you an advantage when you’re trying to get pregnant by allowing you to plan for your fertile window in advance.