Conceive Baby Question:
What is the LH surge? How does Luteinizing Hormone help me conceive a baby?
The LH surge refers to rapidly increasing levels of Luteinizing Hormone in your body in the 24 to 48 hours before you ovulate. LH originates from your pituitary gland and is signaled to surge when the egg cell matures and is ready to be released for fertilization.
You are most fertile and likely to conceive when the LH surges and ovulation is imminent. Identify the LH surge and have intercourse daily during this very fertile window.
After the surge of LH triggers ovulation, it then initiates the conversion of the burst follicle (the chamber the egg matured and emerged from) into the corpus luteum.
The corpus luteum produces progesterone that prepares and thickens the lining of your uterus for possible implantation of an embryo. LH continues to support luteal function for the two weeks following ovulation. If there is a successful implantation, the hCG hormone (produced by the growing embryo) takes over the job of the luteinizing hormone.
The LH surge is what ovulation predictor kits measure for in your urine to determine whether or not ovulation is near. By testing your urine in the week leading up to ovulation, you can detect the LH surge and time intercourse appropriately.
The simplest ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) use inexpensive ovulation test strips which are dipped in collected urine or held under your urine stream daily. By observing the darkening lines, you can tell whether your LH levels have risen and if the LH surge has begun.
More advanced digital ovulation predictors automatically measure the LH levels for you and don’t require you to interpret the test results.
Measuring LH levels can be confusing if you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Women with PCOS often have consistently elevated levels of luteinizing hormone. Your reproductive cycle relies on changing hormone levels and if hormones levels stay consistently high, the cycle will stop. When your luteinizing hormone level never dips, the LH surge will not be triggered and ovulation isn’t likely to occur.
Reproductive hormone levels can also be too low to trigger the LH surge. Women with eating disorders or female athletes with very low body fat may have hormone deficiencies. In this case, the monthly period may stop completely (amenorrhea) and ovulation and pregnancy are very unlikely.
If you have been measuring your LH levels with an ovulation predictor kit for several months and are confused by the results, suspect your LH surge is not occurring, or are worried you may have LH levels that are too high or too low, see your healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment.