Predicting and Confirming Ovulation: Getting the Full Ovulation Picture
For quite some time women have used various methods to predict when ovulation will occur – LH testing, cervical mucus monitoring, and basal body temperature monitoring, just to name a few. But, this has left out one piece of the puzzle: if they actually ovulated. While ovulation predictor kits predict ovulation, there hasn’t been a device that can accurately confirm healthy ovulation, which is crucial when trying to conceive. Though it seems like the same thing, there’s a huge difference between predicting and confirming ovulation. Understanding both parts can help you better understand your cycle when it comes to conception!
Basics on Ovulation
Ovulation is the part of a woman’s cycle when an egg is released from the ovary. In a 28-day cycle, ovulation usually occurs on day 14, in between the follicular and luteal phases. When ovulation happens, the ovarian follicles are stimulated by follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) to rupture to release the egg. It usually takes 36-48 hours after the LH surge for the follicle rupture. As the egg travels through the fallopian tube, the empty follicle (now called the corpus luteum) starts to produce the hormone progesterone. During the luteal phase, progesterone prepares the uterine lining for implantation, so it is ready to receive an embryo, if the egg has been fertilized by sperm.
It is important to understand that not all ovulation is created equally. “Successful” ovulation is when an egg is released and the corpus luteum emits enough progesterone to support a fertilized embryo. Suboptimal, or “weak”, ovulation is when an egg is released, but the corpus luteum isn’t producing a healthy level of progesterone. This means that even if an egg is released and is fertilized, the uterine lining may not be sufficiently prepared to receive that embryo. Having suboptimal ovulation can make it difficult to successfully conceive.
Why is it important to know when you ovulate?
If you are trying to conceive, knowing when you ovulate is critical for timing intercourse. An egg must be fertilized 12-24 hours after it is released, so predicting ovulation can help you time intercourse correctly to give the best chance at conceiving.
Having successful ovulation also gives you insight to your general health and wellbeing. It means your body is working properly and is producing the correct amount of progesterone. If you aren’t experiencing healthy ovulation, it could be a sign of hormone imbalance and if you’re not ovulating at all (also known as anovulation), there could be other health issues at play. If you are not ovulating, it’s best to consult a doctor.
What is the difference between predicting and confirming ovulation?
Predicting ovulation involves tracking the hormones and signs leading up to ovulation, namely luteinizing hormone or LH for short. LH spikes right before ovulation and functions to cause the mature follicle to rupture. The most common ways to predict ovulation include ovulation predictor kits (LH tests), cervical mucus monitoring, and basal body temperature monitoring.
Confirming ovulation is all about tracking hormones released after ovulation. Progesterone is only released by an empty follicle after it releases an egg. Therefore, the presence of progesterone confirms ovulation. The best way to confirm successful ovulation involves tracking PdG levels, a progesterone metabolite found in urine. Tracking your levels days 7, 8, 9 and 10 after you’ve predicted ovulation will let you know if you’ve confirmed “healthy” ovulation, meaning that ovulation occurred and PdG levels remained elevated to provide the best chance at conception that cycle.
So, what do you mean by successful ovulation?
We’re glad you asked! While blood tests can confirm the presence of progesterone and therefore ovulation, they only show progesterone levels at one point in time. For ovulation to be considered “successful”, the empty follicle must release enough progesterone throughout the luteal phase, with the highest days being days 7-10 after ovulation. But, because progesterone fluctuates high and low in a 24-hour period, a single blood test doesn’t always provide the full picture. Tracking PdG levels with Proov takes only 5 minutes and you can test over several days to confirm successful ovulation.
Have any other questions about ovulation or how to test with Proov? Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!