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Can You Get Pregnant On Antibiotics? A Fertility Expert Explains

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When you are trying to get pregnant, every month feels like a year. Not only does it involve a torturous waiting game, the venture requires lots of self-care and preparation. You want to make sure you stick to foods and activities that can increase your chances of conception, and avoid the things that can potentially get in the way. If you’ve recently come down with an illness and have been prescribed antibiotics, you might wonder if it will affect your pregnancy odds. So, can you get pregnant on antibiotics, or will you have to wait until you finish your course?

In an interview with Romper, fertility expert Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, Director of Fertility Preservation with Fertility Centers of Illinois, says that certain antibiotics and cold medications should be avoided during pregnancy, but they should have no impact on your chances of getting pregnant. She adds that being sick during ovulation shouldn’t affect your chances of conception either, nor should any viral or bacterial infections. “That being said,” adds Hirshfeld-Cytron, “sickness may impact sexual desire and other components of getting the deed done.”

However, Dr. Edward Marut, also a fertility expert at Fertility Centers Of Illinois, adds that certain chronic illnesses can interfere with ovulation. “Any systemic illness can disrupt the normal ovulation cycle,” he explains, “and therefore decrease odds of conception for that cycle.” Chronic illnesses like thyroid disorders, kidney disease, and liver disease can alter your pituitary gland function, noted Baby Center, thus impacting and interfering with the ovulation process and fertility.

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Antibiotics have been known to interact with specific drugs, even ones that regulate your menstrual cycle, which is why some people may assume they interfere with the chances of conception. Studies have found that certain antibiotics can interfere with the effectiveness of hormone regulating birth control pills, explained Love To Know contributor Dr. Vilma Ruddock, but there is no data or research to show that antibiotics interfere with the ovulation, menstrual, or conception process. However, Ruddock mentioned that according to the Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology table, male fertility and sperm can be negatively impacted by antibiotics like Penicillin, tetracycline, and erythromycin.

If you are trying to conceive while on antibiotics, there are a few things to keep in mind. Hirshfeld-Cytron says that antibiotics and cold medications should be avoided during pregnancy because they can pose a risk. The Mayo Clinic explained that while antibiotics like penicillins, cephalosporins, erythromycin, and clindamycin are generally considered safe to take during pregnancy, certain antibiotics, including tetracyclines, can cause developmental defects in the baby, especially after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

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Antibiotics taken during pregnancy can even pose a threat to the pregnancy itself. A report by CNN noted that a recent study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that some antibiotics, including quinolones, tetracyclines, metronidazole, sulfonamides and macrolides, can increase the chances of a miscarriage when taken during pregnancy. The study also concluded that the antibiotics regarded as safe to take during pregnancy, including penicillin and cephalosporins, did not contribute to the chances of pregnancy loss.

If you are trying to get pregnant, along with lots of sex, self-care, and patience, it’s really important to let your doctor know that you are in the process of trying to conceive. When evaluating any illness or sickness you come across, your doctor will know your situation, and can possibly check to see if you are pregnant and prescribe you antibiotics accordingly.