Preconception Monitoring of Women's Ovulation Time and Other Menstrual Changes: A Pilot Study

Tuesday, July 12, 2011: 9:10 AM

Adejoke B. Ayoola, PhD, RN
Nursing, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI
Gail Landheer Zandee, MSN, RN
Calvin College Department of Nursing, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI
Dianne Slager, MSN, RN, APRNBC
Nursing Department, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI
Cheryl Feenstra, PhD, RNC
Department of Nursing, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

Learning Objective 1: List the content of a "knowing your body (KB)" kit, namely ovulation test kits, monthly menstrual calendars, digital thermometer, temperature graph and educational brochures

Learning Objective 2: Explain whether women used the "Knowing your body" (KB) kits and how comfortable and confident they were to use the content of the KB kit"

Purpose: Self-monitoring of ovulation time and menstrual cycle changes will help women be more active in reproductive planning. Use and research with ovulation test strips had focused on fertility impairment, not its potential as a pregnancy planning health-promotion tool. This study examined whether adult low-income women would use a “Knowing your Body Kit (KBK)” as a pregnancy planning tool, including a unique use of ovulation test strips. It also looked at the ease of use of the KBK and women’s subsequent ability to detect ovulation time and understand menstrual cycles.

Methods: This pilot study, based on social cognitive theory, included 22 low-income women aged 18 to 39. A KBK was introduced during home visits by a community health worker/nursing student team. The KBK consisted of ovulation test strips, monthly menstrual log calendars, basal body temperature digital thermometer, graphs to chart temperature and educational brochures that contain information on female reproductive anatomy, hormones, menstrual cycle, birth controls, body temperature changes, characteristics of cervical mucus, and signs and symptoms of pregnancy. The women were interviewed 6-8 weeks later to confirm their experiences with the use of the KBK.

Results: Ninety-one percent used the ovulation test strips (mean=6.8 kits); 77.3%, 54.6% and 32% were very confident that they could properly use the ovulation strip, knew when they ovulated, and could use the thermometer to help them know when they were ovulating, respectively. Seventy-three percent of the women were comfortable using the ovulation test strips, 81.8%, 45.5% and 31.8% were comfortable using the thermometer, temperature graph, and the 2-day fluid/mucus observation, respectively.

Conclusion: The KBK provides a new opportunity for low-income women to know their bodies by monitoring their ovulation time and other menstrual changes as a pregnancy planning tool.