Wading the waters of fertility is super complicated sometimes. There are a ton of factors to take into consideration from environment, finances, stability, and especially the one that is most out of your control, actually getting pregnant. For some women, conception is fairly simple, but for many, it's anything but and requires more planning and tracking than ever imagined. So what happens when you throw in the flu on top of all the chaos? How does having the flu affect your chances of getting pregnant? Or does it not really have an effect at all?
The short — and brutally honest — answer is that yes, the flu can affect your chances of getting pregnant, but not necessarily in the ways that you might expect. Registered nurse Emily Wegener explains that one way your bout with the flu could put a damper on your plans to conceive is "internal temperature being too high for fetal growth and development." Although it's still perfectly safe to continue having sex and trying to conceive while you have the flu (minus the fact that you might pass it on to your partner), keep in mind a high fever could make conception more difficult.
Along these same lines, you'll need to remember that your temperature could affect your fertility tracking too. When I was trying to conceive, basal body temperature (your lowest body temperature in a 24-hour period that will fluctuate when you're ovulating) became a focal point. "If you use the basal temperature method to track your ovulation, a fever will make your temperature readings inaccurate," which makes it more difficult to know what your fertile days are, according to The Stork (a women's health firm that helps parents conceive naturally). They also shared that you'll want to consider how a male's fertility is affected during the flu too. A long term fever could potentially harm fertility for them. A fever of 102 degrees or higher for three days (or longer) can temporarily hurt sperm production for up six months — yikes! So if your partner has had a long battle with fever and flu, you might need to be patient longer than anticipated before conception.
To take flu struggles a step further, many moms are concerned that flu or cold medicines while trying to conceive could have a negative effect, too. Luckily, professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center Dr. Janet Choi told The Bump that when flu or cold meds are used short-term, there’s not any evidence that any of the meds will have a "profound impact on conception." And honestly, that's a huge sigh of relief, because most people would probably appreciate the relief these meds can bring when they're feeling achey, sick, feverish, and nauseous.
Overall, when it comes to the flu and conception, there's not a lot to worry about, unless you or your partner are running a really high fever, and even still, it's totally possible to conceive. Although you'll probably feel in the dumps and your immune system may be shot, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't try. Unless, of course, you're just not feeling up to it. It's OK to wait until your next window (which you're probably tracking with your favorite ovulation app).
Additionally, if you need to fill up on flu or cold meds to shoo away any awful s symptoms, you're perfectly fine to do that as well. You just need to make sure that you follow the correct dosage and guidelines to keep you safe and healthy. It's also a good idea not to take flu or cold meds for an extended period of time because that's just not good for anyone, mom or potential baby, warned Dr. Choi.
But in the end, as long as you're not worried about passing the flu onto your sperm donor, partner, husband, whomever (because their fertility could be affected more than your own), it's perfectly fine to keep trying and totally possible to conceive, too.
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