When it comes to trying to conceive (TTC), timing is everything. Sure, all it takes is one sperm to get pregnant, but sometimes, there is a lot more to it than just having sex when you want to. There are fertility apps, ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) and other methods to trying to get the timing just right. If you’re currently using an OPK while TTC, you may be wondering, "how long after a positive ovulation test should we have sex?" Because let’s face it, day five in a row during your fertile window just isn’t fun and romantic anymore and sometimes you and your partner need a break. Especially when it gets to the point when he asks if it’s OK to watch a movie tonight instead of having sex again. However, you don’t want to miss your peak fertility and ovulation window.
How long do you ovulate after a positive OPK result?
Dr. Sherry Ross, OB-GYN and women’s health expert, says in an email interview with Romper that you should start having sex as soon as you have a positive test. Well, it doesn’t have to be that very second, unless you want to, but she says to have sex every day for the next three days because a positive test indicates you’re having your luteinizing hormone (LH) surge. (Made in your pituitary gland, luteinizing hormone helps the reproductive system to function, according to WebMD.) Ross adds you could also have sex around days nine and 10 of your cycle (if your cycle is around 28 days), but then stop until you have a positive surge so the sperm is fresh. Sperm tends to live in your body for a couple of days after ejaculation, and some experts believe your egg could drop right into where it needs to go at the right time, and they’ll be waiting.
A woman's LH surge usually occurs about a day or two before ovulation, according to Healthline, though Ross says many women constantly have LH in their bloodstreams and not just when they’re ovulating. This is why you may still have a faint line on your OPK a few days after having a blazing red line. But when you do ovulate, the LH peak should be five times the usual amount you have in your urine.
Using an OPK obviously helps you time intercourse to know exactly when to do the deed. How romantic, right? But if you’re not using a kit, and prefer to have things be a little more spontaneous, Dr. G. Thomas Ruiz, OB-GYN at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, tells Romper that if your average cycle length is 30 days, you can expect ovulation to be around day 16 of your cycle, but you can adjust calculations to your cycle accordingly by subtracting 14 days from your expected period.
How to read an OPK test
As far as knowing when that test is actually positive, especially if you’re using a test strip OPK, make sure your test line is darker than the control line. An OPK will typically turn negative the day after you ovulate, and a negative test will show that control line being a little bit lighter than the control. But since most women have some level of LH in their systems, it may never be completely white, but just very faint.
Testing for ovulation and trying to make a baby can be a very stressful time. And sometimes it can make you feel like sex is a chore instead of something fun, intimate, and romantic. Thankfully, if you wait to do your marathon run until the day you have a positive test, and the following two days, you won’t be burned out yet and you may be more ready than ever if you’re abstaining. Good luck.
Dr. G. Thomas Ruiz, OB-GYN
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