Medically reviewed by: Heather Frame, BSN, RN | By: Premom Team
Updated November 21, 2022
By understanding some of the events that occur during your menstrual cycle, achieving pregnancy can feel much more simple!
Premom aims to help women achieve pregnancy more easily. We constantly analyze ways to individualize a path for women trying to get pregnant by educating about the importance of testing with ovulation tests and other fertility awareness methods.
LH Peak and Ovulation Day
Ovulation is the main event during a menstrual cycle, when a mature egg is released from the ovary. Luteinizing hormone (LH) is what triggers your ovary to release an egg each month. Once your body reaches a certain threshold of LH, also known as your LH peak, you can assume ovulation will occur in the next 24-36 hours. Once the egg is released, it only lives for 24 hours, whereas sperm can live up to 5 days in the female body.
The timing of ovulation varies from woman to woman. Most women believe they ovulate on cycle day or CD 14, but in fact, "In only about 30% of women is the fertile window entirely within the days of the menstrual cycle identified by clinical guidelines-that is, between days 10 and 17," according to a study published in The BMJ. This often leads to incorrectly timed intercourse while trying to get pregnant. Using ovulation predictor kits can help you understand your unique hormones in order to pinpoint ovulation day each month.
Ovulation testing can help you get pregnant faster
Ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) are an effective method for detecting your LH surge which indicates your fertile window each month. Studies have shown that using ovulation tests increase the chances of pregnancy by two menstrual cycles compared to those who do not use ovulation tests.
These at-home tests measure the level of luteinizing hormone, or LH, in your urine. Using ovulation tests can help predict ovulation before it happens so you can time intercourse efficiently to have sperm waiting to meet the recently released egg. The best days to have intercourse to maximize your chances of pregnancy are the 2 days leading up to ovulation and ovulation day.
In addition to using OPKs, tracking basal body temperature (BBT), checking your cervical mucus, and monitoring for other ovulation symptoms can also help you identify your fertile window with accuracy.
How to easily find your LH Peak
- Start testing at least once a day after your period ends
- Follow best practices when ovulation testing
- Track BBT to confirm ovulation
- Sync with your Premom app to get more insight on your cycle patterns
We recommend testing daily between 10am-8pm starting the day after your period ends. This will help you identify your LH peak while also ensuring you do not miss it with inconsistent testing. Aim to test for at least 5 consecutive days per cycle – consistency is key!
Types of ovulation test patterns
There are two types of LH surge patterns. Some women have a gradual onset LH surge, meaning their LH levels start low and slowly rise each day after their period ends before reaching their peak. It is possible to have multiple days of high LH readings (positive ovulation test results) before eventually reaching a peak, so it is especially important to keep testing until you see the LH levels go back down and stay at the baseline.
Some women can have a rapid onset LH surge that peaks quickly within as little as a few hours. This means you may only see one positive ovulation test despite multiple days of testing. If you are new to testing or have been testing and have been unable to find your LH peak, you may benefit from testing twice daily as you could possibly have a rapid onset surge and be missing your peak!
Once you have found your peak, keep testing daily to ensure your levels return to baseline until ovulation has been confirmed by a 0.5-1 degree spike in BBT.
Premom’s automatic ovulation test reader makes reading your ovulation tests and identifying your unique patterns easy. Keep in mind that it can take a couple of cycles to get the hang of ovulation testing and identifying your peak – so don’t feel discouraged if you’re not able to find it the first cycle! If you have been tracking for a few cycles and are still having difficulty understanding your LH patterns or identifying your LH peak, schedule a virtual consultation with any of our medical providers through your Premom app.
Johnson S, Stanford JB, Warren G, Bond S, Bench-Capon S, Zinaman MJ. Increased Likelihood of Pregnancy Using an App-Connected Ovulation Test System: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2020 Jan;29(1):84-90. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2019.7850. Epub 2019 Sep 4. PMID: 31483187; PMCID: PMC6983750.
Wilcox AJ, Dunson D, Baird DD. The timing of the "fertile window" in the menstrual cycle: day specific estimates from a prospective study. BMJ. 2000 Nov 18;321(7271):1259-62. doi: 10.1136/bmj.321.7271.1259. PMID: 11082086; PMCID: PMC27529.