You want to get pregnant, and you know it involves a sperm meeting up with an egg. How do you ensure that the time is right - that the egg is waiting? That's what an ovulation test does!

First, read Determining your Menstrual Cycle so you understand the basics of a menstrual cycle. Every 28 days or so, your body loops through a set pattern of changes. This starts with your period, where the old egg and uterine lining is flushed from your body. Then it goes on to release a fresh, new egg, around day 14, which travels down the fallopean tube towards your uterus.

It is this "traveling time" - when the egg is cruising down your tube - that is ideal for fertilization. It is then that the sperm should be sent in after the egg, to fertilize it and create a baby. This traveling time takes place for 0-3 days after the egg is released. Since sperm can live in the body for up to 5 days, if you have intercourse for the 3 days on and following egg release, those are your most fertile days.

The egg is told to release by a spike of luteinizing hormone (LH) that's sent through your system. Females always have some quantity of LH coursing through their system, but when there's a bunch of it, that tells the egg to release. So all a test does is keep track of your LH levels.

You should keep a journal and start testing yourself around day 10. Write down the numbers each day and watch for a spike. Test for a few days after the spike so you get a sense of what is "normal" for your body. After a month or two, you will see the pattern and get to know exactly when that spike happens.

Good luck!

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