Many women think they can use the LH tests for avoiding pregnancy, and that is some thin ice to be walking on. Despite the tests clearly stating they should not be used to prevent pregnancy, I still get asked ALL. THE. TIME. “why can’t I just use this machine/test to tell me when I’m ovulating and then we won’t have sex?” Or worse ...”he won’t finish in me.” (another myth that needs some serious straightening out in our world).
Luteinizing Hormone (LH) is the hormone released by the pituitary gland that causes the outer shell of the follicle to start breaking down so the ovum can break free. LH spikes just before ovulation happens. Ovulation prediction tests that measure the level of LH in your urine and saliva with the idea of helping you predict ovulation so you can increase your chances of becoming pregnant are readily available at any store with a pharmacy section.
But there are many weaknesses to this plan of using LH testing to avoid pregnancy. The first one being, the tests were never intended for this purpose, and that alone is an indication of their effectiveness for this.
The next really bad idea is that withdrawal has a high rate of failure. Depending on your source and timing in the cycle it can be anywhere from 5-25%. But if you’re not willing to bring life into this world, even 1% is too high to chance. There is this thing some women have coined “perfect withdrawal” but that is just a more socially acceptable name for masturbation. Associating that with the actual withdrawal or “pulling out” technique has resulted in many, many unplanned pregnancies. Any fluid that leaves the penis has the potential to have sperm cells in it. Furthermore, even if sperm come in contact with the right cervical fluid OUTSIDE the vagina those sperm can meet egg and make baby, says WOOMB International, the largest worldwide organization for researching this kind of stuff.
OK putting soapbox away.
Back to LH testing.... another reason you can’t use a LH test alone to avoid pregnancy is LH surges just before potential ovulation. The cervix will have been secreting fluid that nourishes sperm and aides their swimming efforts in preparation for ovulation. Sperm can live up to 5 days in this ideal cervical environment, so it would be possible that you have viable sperm in your cervix before, during, or after the LH test showing positive. Those sperm could still meet egg and make baby.
And finally, just because there is a spike in LH does not mean ovulation actually happened. It just means the body attempted ovulation. LH can surge without an egg being released at all, or ovulation may just be delayed for a few days or even weeks for one reason or another. So, you may see a positive LH spike on your test and falsely believe you ovulated and are in the infertile luteal phase of your cycle having carefree sex every day until you realize your period never showed up. (oops!)
Understanding the significance of tracking other biomarkers such as the cervical fluid and how to properly identify ovulation using a specific researched method offers a greater likelihood of avoiding or achieving pregnancy. Understanding a sound method of fertility tracking, like Billings Ovulation Method®, is a sure shot way to get to know your body so that you can PROPERLY and most accurately identify the times when pregnancy is impossible or when it is most likely. It is also a great tool for monitoring your reproductive health in general.
I hope this was helpful to you!
If you would like to learn more about how to successfully implement a means of avoiding pregnancy that is natural hormone-free, and still 99% effective, check out my info page on the Billings Ovulation Method HERE.
I would also like to extend an invitation to join a community of women who are working towards health freedom, body literacy, and empowering each other to take better care of ourselves. In here we talk about all things womanhood throws at us and work on natural solutions to overcome them. We focus specifically on natural fertility management and general hormone balance. If this sounds like a fit for you, you can check us out HERE.
And don't forget to grab my free guides:
Some links may be affiliate links. See full disclosure here.