Folic acid which is also known as folate, is well recognized for its value in the prevention of certain birth defects. It may have another important health benefit. A large study showed that women who consumed more folic acid had a significantly reduced risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension).
Folic acid is one of the B vitamins found in foods such as leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, and peas. A synthetic form of folic acid is used in dietary supplements and fortified foods. Folic acid acts by helping the body produce and maintain new cells. In particular, red blood cell formation is dependent upon adequate levels of this vitamin. Folic acid deficiency is a known cause of anemia in both adults and children. Folate may also help cells resist changes in their DNA associated with the development of cancer.
Studies have shown that beginning folic acid supplementation before conception significantly reduces the incidence of birth defects known as neural tube defects (malformations of the spine and brain) such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Folic acid supplements are routinely prescribed for women who may become pregnant.
Let’s cut to the chase. If you’re trying to have a baby, you want to know when you need to have sex. An ovulation test can help predict when you’re most likely to be fertile, and you should take an ovulation test a few days prior to when you anticipate ovulation.
Ovulation takes place in the middle of your menstrual cycle, which begins on the first day of your period. Once your ovaries release an egg, it lives for about 12 to 24 hours. This makes it seem like there’s a small window of time to conceive a baby each month.
However, sperm can live in your body for up to 5 days. So even if you don’t have sex during that 24-hour ovulation window, you may still conceive if you’ve had sex a few days before.
What day should I start testing ovulation?
The best time to start testing ovulation is a few days before you’re scheduled to ovulate. Ovulation occurs midway through your menstrual cycle, give or take a few days.
Your most fertile days of the month are 1 to 2 days before and after your ovaries release an egg. Sperm can live in the body for up to 5 days. So, conception can occur if you have sex 5 days before ovulation, and up to 1 day after ovulation.
Predicting ovulation is easier when you have a regular menstrual cycle. With a 28-day cycle, you’ll likely ovulate on or around day 14, so you’ll want to start testing around day 10 or 11.
If you have a short cycle, you can assume that ovulation will most likely occur within 4 days of your cycle’s midpoint. So, you should start using an ovulation test kit 4 to 6 days prior to your cycle’s midpoint.
When is the best time of day to use an ovulation test kit?
There’s no wrong or right time of day to test ovulation. Some women prefer to test their urine in the morning, whereas others test it in the afternoon or evening. Whatever time you choose, make sure to test at the same time each day.
Keep in mind that liquid can dilute the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. If this happens, it can appear as if you’re not ovulating when you are. So limit your intake of fluids about 2 hours before testing. It also helps not to urinate 1 to 2 hours before testing.
For the reasons above, many women use ovulation test kits right when they wake up. Testing in the morning also allows you plenty of time to get it on if the test gives you the green light!
Testing ovulation with an irregular menstrual cycle
Ovulation test kits are more accurate when you have a regular cycle because it’s easier to predict the midway point of your cycle. But don’t worry — ovulation testing can still work if you have an irregular cycle. You’ll just have to test more often.
While women with a regular cycle only need to test ovulation once a month, someone with an irregular cycle will have to test more frequently. You’ll start testing a few days after your period and then once every week thereafter.
Even with an irregular cycle, you can look for the telltale signs of ovulation indicating that it’s time to start using a test kit. You’ll need to pay attention to bodily changes like vaginal discharge and basal body temperature.
Start using an ovulation test kit if you notice any of these symptoms:
*Increased cervical mucus, particularly discharge that feels slippery when wiping or has an egg-white-like consistency
*An increase in your basal body temperature
*An increased sex drive
*Mild pelvic pain
How to test ovulation
Ovulation test strips are designed to detect levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. This hormone signals ovulation, which is the release of an egg from your ovaries into the fallopian tube.
While ovulation test strips can determine your most fertile days, they’re not 100 percent accurate. But don’t worry too much — they can have an accuracy rate up to 99 percent.