How to Read Ovulation Tests

By Elizabeth Wolfenden

That ovulation test you bought may look just like a pregnancy test, but reading the results can be much more confusing. Many women may expect an ovulation predictor kit to work the same way as a pregnancy test does, with one line appearing if you are not ovulating and two lines appearing if you are ovulating. However, ovulation tests almost always has two lines appear no matter what and must be read in an entirely different manner.

Take the ovulation test. This is done by urinating directly on the testing stick or dipping the testing stick into a cup of your urine. It is best to test in the afternoon or evening since LH is synthesized early in the day.

Wait the recommended amount of time. This time period will vary depending on the specific type of ovulation test you are using, so be sure to check the instructions. However, generally, the time you will have to wait before reading the results will be about five minutes.

Determine which of the two lines is the control line (sometimes referred to as the reference line.) This may be indicated on the test itself, or you may need to refer to the package or instruction booklet for assistance.

Determine if the test line is darker or lighter than the control line. If the test line is lighter than the control line, it means ovulation does not appear to be imminent. However, if the test line is the same color or darker than the control line, it is a sign that your body is experiencing a surge of the LH hormone responsible for triggering ovulation and ovulation will most likely be occurring within the next 12 to 48 hours.

Tip

To get the most accurate results, be sure to take the test at approximately the same time each day and to limit your fluid intake for about two hours before taking the ovulation test.

Although ovulation tests with lines are the most common type of ovulation test, there are some ovulation tests that provide the results in the form of a smiley face which may be easier to read.

Warning

Although typically two lines will appear in the testing window, if your LH levels are particularly low the test line may be extremely light or not appear at all. If only the control line appears, you should read that as a negative result.

Reading the results outside of the time period recommended by the manufacturer of the test can result in an inaccurate reading.

Using ovulation tests can increase the chances of conception, but should not be used as way to avoid pregnancy.

About the Author

Elizabeth Wolfenden has been a professional freelance writer since 2005 with articles published on a variety of blogs and websites. She specializes in the areas of nutrition, health, psychology, mental health and education. Wolfenden holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in counseling from Oakland University.