When you are trying to conceive (TTC), an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) can be a valuable tool to help identify the most fertile time of the month to get your baby to dance on. However, we’ve noticed that some women have been asking if they can use an OPK to detect pregnancy. Particularly in the very early stages. In this blog, we answer this question and look at how OPKs and pregnancy tests work and why they are different.
How do ovulation predictor kits work?
OPKs work by detecting the surge of luteinising hormone (LH) that occurs just before ovulation. LH is a hormone that your body naturally produces. Its levels rise and fall throughout the menstrual cycle. However, the LH surge that occurs just before ovulation is much higher than the baseline levels of LH that are present during the rest of the month. By detecting this surge, an OPK can help a woman pinpoint the optimal time to try to conceive.
How do pregnancy tests work?
Pregnancy tests detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the urine. HCG is a hormone that the placenta produces after a fertilised egg implants in the uterus. HCG levels rise rapidly in the first few weeks of pregnancy, and a pregnancy test can detect in urine as early as 10 days after conception. We, like most other pregnancy test manufacturers, recommend that the best time to take a test is the first day of your missed period. However, the Hoopsy eco pregnancy test allows you to test up to 5 days early with 95% accuracy,
Can an OPK Pick Up Trace Levels of HCG in Early Pregnancy?
While an ovulation predictor kit and pregnancy test both rely on detecting hormones in the body, they are designed to detect different hormones at different levels. OPKs are designed to detect LH, while pregnancy tests are designed to detect HCG.
Additionally, OPKs are typically less sensitive than pregnancy tests. They are not designed to detect the very low levels of HCG that may be present in early pregnancy. So we would never advise them to be a reliable source of pregnancy testing.
It’s technically possible that an OPK could pick up trace levels of HCG in early pregnancy. Particularly if the woman ovulated very late in her cycle and became pregnant shortly after. However, this is not the intended use of an OPK, and it is not a reliable way to confirm pregnancy. If you think you might be pregnant, it’s best to use a pregnancy test, like the Hoopsy eco pregnancy test to confirm.