When all you want to see is a big fat positive on a pregnancy test, any little blip in your journey can make you anxious. If you’ve been tracking your ovulation and getting busy at the right times, you might be increasing your chances of pregnancy. But if you come down with the flu or other illness during your ovulation days, you may be concerned about the impact it will have on your fertility. Can being sick during ovulation affect your chances of getting pregnant?
Fertility expert Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, board-certified reproductive endocrinologist at Fertility Centers of Illinois, says that being sick during ovulation should not affect your chances of conception. Whether your sickness is a stomach bug or flu caused by a virus or a tooth or skin infection from bacteria, Cytron says that ovulation should not be impacted by most viral or bacterial infections.
There are some medical issues and other illnesses that can affect your fertility, however. Dr. Barry Witt, M.D., a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and medical director of WINFertility and Greenwich Fertility, says many disorders affect fertility by interfering with ovulation. “Disorders that may affect ovulation include thyroid disease, obesity, diabetes or insulin resistance, and eating disorders with reduced body weight,” he says. Conception cannot occur without ovulation, and these disorders can result in a lack of ovulation or irregular menstrual periods, he explains, and any chronic illness that causes excessive weight loss or weight gain can also reduce fertility. The Office On Women's Health also explained that extra weight can cause excess estrogen, a hormone that acts as a sort of natural birth control by stopping ovulation or a normal period. On the other hand, being underweight can also stop ovulation and a regular menstrual cycle.
Something else that can affect your chances of getting pregnant? Not feeling well enough to have sex. Cytron says that sickness could impact sexual desire and other components of getting the “deed” done. When you feel congested or nauseated, sex might not be as fun as it usually is, but feeling sick while having sex won’t decrease your odds of getting pregnant.
If you do have an infection, you might have been prescribed antibiotics or you may need to take other medications. Cytron says for the most part, antibiotics or cold medications should not impact your odds of getting pregnant. Some psychotropic drugs — antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, mood stabilizers, and stimulants — however, can disrupt ovulation. “Although psychiatric disorders don’t necessarily affect fertility, many medications that are used to treat psychiatric illnesses can result in anovulation,” says Witt. If you are concerned about any medications interfering with your ovulation or fertility, make sure to voice your concerns to your doctor or fertility specialist. They can give you the answers and options best suited for your condition.
If you’ve been tracking your ovulation according to your basal body temperature, being sick definitely complicates that process a bit. When you have an illness like a cold or flu that results in a fever, it may throw off your temperature readings, making it more difficult to track your most fertile days, noted the Bump
If you are trying to conceive, talk to your doctor about getting a flu shot, which can give you some protection against flu viruses during conception and through your pregnancy. The best thing you can do if you find yourself sick during your ovulation days is to keep yourself healthy and hydrated with a nutritious immune boosting diet, while keeping your doctor or fertility specialist in the loop. With a little patience and persistence, hopefully you’ll get that positive pregnancy test you were waiting for.
Dr. Barry Witt, M.D., a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and medical director of WINFertility and Greenwich Fertility
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