Can Having a Fever Affect Getting Pregnant?

Dear Kindara,

I ovulated Thursday, and Monday and Wednesday my husband was especially loving, but now it’s the weekend and I’m sick. Saturday evening I had a temp of 102.1 and into the night my temp was a roller-coaster. Does this high fever automatically negate any baby making opportunity I may have had from earlier in the week? If it doesn’t remove the possibility entirely could it somehow have a negative impact on this possible cluster of cells as it moves to the uterus? So curious, I just have to ask.-Valeria

Hey Valerie,

Having a fever for a prolonged period of time, 24 hours or more, could potentially have harmful effects.Hyperthermia (high temperature) has been shown to act as a teratogen during the implantation phase in animals (an increase of core body temperature by 1.5 degrees celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). This particular study lead to the investigation of hyperthermia in humans and its affect on pregnancy.

During the first and/or second trimester, experiencing a fever equal to or greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 24 hours can potentially lead to greater risk of malformations and neural tube defects. Keep in mind that even though these risks are greater than for women who do not experience prolonged hyperthermia during the first or second trimester, the overall risk is still low.

Fever can be problematic when tracking your cycle if it occurs before you’ve confirmed ovulation. Experiencing a rise in  basal body temperature for at least 3 days confirms ovulation, indicating the beginning of the luteal phase. If you experience a fever during the time you typically ovulate, you cannot distinguish between your fever and the normal temperature spikes you’d experience as a result of ovulation.

So, overall, while having a fever does pose some risk, you most likely shouldn’t worry about your fever screwing up any progress you and your husband made towards conceiving unless you experienced a high fever for a prolonged period of time. Just be sure to keep tracking your cycle. After the fever lifts, see if you experience post-ovulatory temperatures that are typical for you. Also, we recommend taking a pregnancy test to see if that baby-making worked!

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