(The following are some questions I have received from readers recently, followed by my answers.)
Question: I have been charting this month for the first time, but have been using OPKs for several months. Some months, like this one, I have positive results for several days in a row. I have read that you should only have a positive result for 24 hours. Today I had my 5th positive day in a row. Day one (of these 5) was the only day I used a digital OPK, which was positive, and since then my test line has been darker.
What could be the cause of this? It’s hard to say what my temperatures indicate yet, because I work some night shifts, so my sleep patterns vary. I’ve heard it may be more difficult to read in that case. Thanks for your help!
My Answer: First of all, I don’t recommend continuing to test with OPK’s after you have a definite positive. It just causes confusion and wastes your tests.
You should use the OPK up until the test line is as dark or darker than the control line. Then you should expect to ovulate within 36 hours from that time. Stop testing, and have intercourse that night and the following night if possible. Then skip a night and have intercourse one more time.
If you are charting your BBT as well, you will be able to tell when you have ovulated. Your temperature will rise, and then you will know you can stop having baby-making intercourse for that month.
You can read more about determining your ovulation, including OPK testing and BBT charting on this page of my site.
Question: Is it a pretty good indication that you’ve ovulated if you have both mittelschmerz and egg white cervical mucus on the same days? I was curious if mittelechmerz means that you’re definitley ovulating? I know EWCM can happen with or without ovulation.
I don’t chart BBT (I should, but that’s a little too much planning for me), so I only rely on these two factors. I know I can ovulate, as I did become pregnant in late February of this year, but I lost the pregnancy about 6 weeks into it, and I feel this pain just about every month, but I was getting worried that maybe I don’t ovulate every month and that’s why we haven’t gotten pregnant again.
My Answer: Mittelschmerz is a pretty good indicator that you are ovulating. However, you can certainly ovulate without this mid-cycle cramping.
Personally, I wouldn’t rely just on these two methods alone. You really need to chart your basal temperatures in order to know if you are consistently ovulating.
Another method I recommend highly is OPK’s. There are different types of OPK’s – strips, cassettes, and fertility monitors. The strips are the least expensive and fairly easy to use.
For BBT charting, you can make it simpler if you have a general idea of when you ovulate. Let’s say you typically have your cramping about day 15 of your cycle. In that case, begin to chart your temps on about day 10 until you see the rise in temperature and then stop. This way, you’re only taking your temperature for about a week.
To make it easier, you could make a notation on your calendar or have your cell phone notify you on the day you need to start. That way your planning time is minimal, but you still improve your chances of timing intercourse properly each month.