Written by: Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test — the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home.
Written on 12/13/21
After a positive ovulation test, many of us are unsure of what to do next.
Most couples trying to conceive are familiar with ovulation tests. These simple test strips can help you time intercourse around when you’re most fertile.
However, after a positive ovulation test, many of us are unsure what to do next. Should you keep testing LH? Or should you wait two weeks then take a pregnancy test?
Don’t worry — here at Proov, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading for all you need to know about what to do after a positive ovulation test.
What is an ovulation test and why would I use one?
If you are trying to conceive, knowing when you ovulate is one of the key events in your cycle. After all, it’s only around ovulation when conception is actually possible.
You see, without both an egg and sperm present, conception just isn’t possible. After ovulation occurs, an egg is only viable for 24-48 hours, meaning sperm only has a short window of time to find the egg and fertilize it.
The good news is that sperm can actually survive in the female reproductive tract for up to 5 days. These few days leading up to and including the day of ovulation are referred to as your fertile window and this is when you should be having intercourse for the best chance at conception.
Once the egg is ready for ovulation, the brain sends a luteinizing hormone surge to the ovary which triggers it to release the egg. The LH surge typically occurs about 12-36 hours before ovulation.
Ovulation tests are urine-based hormone test strips that measure luteinizing hormone (LH) levels to predict when ovulation should occur. By detecting the LH surge that typically precedes ovulation, ovulation tests can help you time intercourse around your two most fertile days each cycle to help you optimize your chances of getting pregnant.
When should I use an ovulation test?
In regular cycles, ovulation usually occurs about halfway through the cycle. So, in a 28 day cycle, you could expect ovulation to occur on or around cycle day 14, with cycle day 1 being the first day of your period.
However, most women do not have 28 days cycles; a healthy, regular cycle can last anywhere from 21 to 35 days. This means you may ovulate before or after cycle day 14, so assuming all women ovulate on cycle day 14 is not always the most accurate assumption.
If you assume you ovulate on cycle day 14, you could actually be mistiming intercourse and lowering your chances at conception. In fact, studies show mistiming intercourse is one of the main causes of infertility in otherwise healthy couples.
Each LH test brand may have slightly different instructions, so we recommend reading the individual instructions for whichever test you choose. We can, however, provide instructions for our LH tests: Proov Predict! Note that we always recommend using Proov-brand strips alongside the free Proov Insight app.
We always recommend using Proov-brand strips alongside the free Proov Insight app.
If you are using Proov Predict, we recommend beginning LH testing roughly 18 days before your next suspected period. After inputting some simple cycle data, the Proov Insight app will calculate this date for you.
If it’s your first month tracking your cycle or if your cycles are irregular, you may start using the tests earlier, around cycle day 7 or 8, to ensure you don’t accidentally miss your LH surge.
You’ll want to continue testing LH levels until you get a positive result. As you near the middle of your cycle — when we expect ovulation to occur — you may want to test multiple times per day.
This is because some LH surges can be really short, meaning if you test at the wrong time of day you may miss it. Additionally, studies show that LH peaks in blood most often between midnight and 8 a.m., and then needs time for it to be detectable in urine.
Some women find second morning urine (around 10 am) is a better time to test LH. Testing LH levels again in the evening can help ensure you don’t miss your surge if it happens to occur later in the day.
What does a positive ovulation test mean?
To keep it simple, a positive LH test means LH is surging, ovulation should be coming soon, and you are in your 2 most fertile days. Remember, LH tests can only predict ovulation, not confirm it, and there are instances where you may get a positive ovulation test that doesn’t result in ovulation — more on this later!
Additionally, there are other scenarios in which a positive LH test may not indicate ovulation. Those with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) often experience hormonal imbalances that lead to elevated LH levels throughout their entire cycle or multiple LH surges that don’t actually result in ovulation.
PCOS patients may not find LH testing to be the most reliable way to predict ovulation, in which case they may want to try something like cervical mucus monitoring.
When we go through perimenopause, we may experience changes in our hormones that can make it more difficult to detect an LH surge. Irregular cycles, lack of ovulation, and short luteal phases can be common during perimenopause, and they all have an impact on the balance of your hormones, including LH levels.
What do I do after a positive ovulation test?
Once you’ve observed a positive LH test and have identified your 2 most fertile days, it’s time to get busy! This is when intercourse is most likely to result in pregnancy.
Your next question may be whether or not you need to continue testing LH after you get a positive result. Contrary to what other brands may tell you, the answer is no — once you get your first positive ovulation test, there’s no need to continue testing.
Studies show that a surge of at least 25 mIU/ml is the most predictive of ovulation. Since Proov Predict LH tests turn positive at 25 mIU/ml, once you get a positive result you’ve predicted your 2 most fertile days. Continuing to test past then won’t provide much more valuable information (meaning you could be wasting tests!).
Up until recently, many couples TTC would have intercourse, then endure the infamous 2 week wait until they could take a pregnancy test. But there are actually answers you can get during these two weeks, mainly surrounding ovulation and ovulation quality.
Proov Confirm PdG tests are the first and only FDA cleared PdG test kit to confirm ovulation and ovulation quality at home. Our tests can tell you whether or not you ovulated and if the quality of your ovulation allows for the best possible chance at successful pregnancy.
Proov Confirm PdG tests are the first and only FDA cleared PdG test kit to confirm ovulation and ovulation quality at home.
You see, PdG is a marker of progesterone found in urine. Progesterone is the hormone produced after ovulation and is necessary to prepare the uterus for implantation and pregnancy. Sufficient progesterone levels during the implantation window increases the chances of successful pregnancy.
Testing PdG levels with Proov on days 7, 8, 9, and 10 after your first positive ovulation test can help you confirm that ovulation occurred and your PdG levels remained elevated during the implantation window to give you the best possible chance at implantation and pregnancy. Studies show elevated PdG levels during the second half of your cycle correlate to a 92% chance at successful pregnancy.
Now that you know what to do after a positive ovulation test, you can be better prepared for what comes next on your fertility journey!