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Fertility Awareness

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Home ovulation tests measure the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) in the urine and display the results on a test strip or a small computer unit.

Combined (symptothermal) method

Many women have symptoms such as breast tenderness, swelling of the vulva, bloating, belly pain on one side, or increased sexual desire around the time of ovulation.

Fertility awareness is most effective when all the methods are used together. The number of unplanned pregnancies is 25 out of 100 women who typically use these methods.

If you have had a baby in the past 6 months or if you have an irregular menstrual cycle, it may be hard to use this method to know when ovulation occurs.

What Affects the Test

For all methods

Fertility awareness methods will not work very well:

  • If they are not used consistently.
  • During stressful times or times when cycles are irregular, after a baby is born, after you stop taking birth control pills, or just before menopause.
  • If both partners are not willing to work together to use them.

Calendar (rhythm) method

The calendar method will not work very well if:

  • You have irregular, short, or long menstrual cycles.
  • You breast-feed for more than 6 months.
  • You supplement breast-feeding with bottle-feeding.

Basal body temperature (BBT) method

The BBT method will not work well if you:

  • Have a fever.
  • Take some medicines, such as aspirin.
  • Are traveling, having problems sleeping, or having other stress.
  • Use a different thermometer, take the thermometer out too soon, take your temperature at a different time of day, or take your temperature in a different way.

Cervical mucus method (Billings method)

The cervical mucus method will not work very well if you:

  • Use vaginal lubricants or douche.
  • Are breast-feeding.
  • Have a vaginal infection.
  • Are close to menopause.

Hormone monitoring

The results of hormone monitoring may not be correct if you do not follow the home ovulation kit instructions exactly.

Combined (symptothermal) method

Anything that changes the results of one of the methods also changes the results of the combined method.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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