Can Being Sick Affect implantation

If you’re trying to conceive, you may wonder: Can being sick really affect your fertility and implantation? The question is especially common during flu season when cold and flu symptoms are widespread.

Let’s delve into this concern, analyzing the role of sickness, the immune system, medications, and stress levels on the implantation process.

Understanding Implantation


The Implantation Process

Implantation refers to the stage in pregnancy when the fertilized egg (embryo) attaches itself to the uterus’s wall. This crucial step typically occurs about a week after ovulation and embryo transfer. Successful implantation is critical for a successful pregnancy.

Factors that Influence Implantation

Many factors can affect implantation, including hormonal balance, blood flow, basal body temperature, and the overall health of the woman. An adverse event during this delicate phase can lead to an early miscarriage or unsuccessful implantation.

Can Being Sick Influence Implantation?


The Common Cold, Flu, and Implantation

A common cold or the flu might cause worry, especially when you’re trying to conceive. But can a cold affect implantation? While research is limited, it’s generally accepted that mild illnesses like the common cold or stomach bug do not directly interfere with the implantation process.

Impact of Medications on Implantation

More critical than the sickness itself is the potential impact of medications like cold and flu medications. Some medications, including certain decongestants and cough suppressants, may have adverse effects on ovulation, which could potentially impact the implantation process.

Fever and Implantation

High fever, however, is a different story. A high temperature, indicative of severe illnesses, can affect the body’s normal functioning, including the implantation process. High fever can increase the risk of early miscarriage and other complications such as preterm labor or low birth weight.

The Role of the Immune System


Pregnancy and Immune System

The immune system plays a significant role in pregnancy. It not only protects the body from infections but also assists in the implantation process. However, when the body is fighting off an infection, resources may be diverted from processes like implantation.

Sick, Stress, and Implantation

Can getting sick affect implantation indirectly? The answer is yes. When you’re sick, your body’s stress levels may rise, potentially affecting implantation. Stress hormones can influence the body’s hormonal balance and impact fertility.

Navigating Illness During Early Pregnancy


What to Do When You’re Sick

If you fall sick while trying to conceive or during early pregnancy, the best approach is to rest, hydrate, and seek appropriate medical advice. If you’re using flu medications, ensure they are safe for use during this critical period.

When to Contact a Healthcare Provider

If your flu-like symptoms persist or you’re concerned about the impact of your illness on implantation, contact your healthcare provider. They can provide advice tailored to your health situation, helping you balance the need to recover from illness with the concerns around early pregnancy.

Which long-term illnesses can affect fertility?

There are numerous long-term illnesses that can potentially impact fertility in both men and women. Some of them are:

  1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): This is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels, leading to the production of more male hormones than normal. PCOS can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, making it more challenging for women to get pregnant.
  2. Endometriosis: This condition occurs when cells that normally line the inside of the uterus grow outside of it. Endometriosis can potentially damage the ovaries and fallopian tubes, making it harder for a woman to become pregnant.
  3. Uterine Fibroids: These are noncancerous growths in the uterus that can change the shape or size of the uterus and fallopian tubes, making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant properly.
  4. Male Factor Infertility: This can occur due to a variety of chronic health issues in men, including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and certain genetic conditions. These conditions can affect sperm production and function.
  5. Chronic Kidney Disease: Both men and women with chronic kidney disease may have reduced fertility. Hormonal imbalances and the physical stresses of the disease can affect both egg and sperm production.
  6. Autoimmune Disorders: Conditions like lupus or celiac disease can impact fertility, particularly if they’re poorly controlled. They can lead to issues such as premature ovarian failure or other fertility problems.
  7. Thyroid Disorders: Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can disrupt the menstrual cycle, causing problems with ovulation.
  8. Diabetes: Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to menstrual irregularities in women, and it can impact sperm quality in men.
  9. Cancer: Some forms of cancer and cancer treatments can lead to fertility problems. In women, certain cancers (like ovarian or uterine cancer) can directly affect fertility, while treatments (like chemotherapy and radiation) can damage the reproductive organs.

These conditions don’t guarantee fertility problems, but they can make it more difficult for some individuals to conceive. If you or your partner has a long-term illness and you’re concerned about its potential impact on fertility, it’s important to discuss this with a healthcare provider.

Please note that this information is general in nature, and individual health circumstances can vary greatly. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

What Can Interfere With Implantation?

Several factors can interfere with implantation during the early stages of pregnancy. These include:

  1. Hormonal Imbalances: Implantation is a delicate process that depends on precise hormonal balance. Any deviations in the levels of hormones like progesterone, estrogen, or luteinizing hormone (LH) can disrupt the process.
  2. Uterine Conditions: Conditions such as fibroids, polyps, or scar tissue in the uterus can physically interfere with implantation. Additionally, a thin endometrial lining may not provide a sufficient environment for the embryo to attach and develop.
  3. Chronic Diseases: Diseases like diabetes, thyroid disorders, or autoimmune diseases can disrupt the normal functioning of the body and potentially interfere with implantation.
  4. Lifestyle Factors: Unhealthy habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, and drug use can impact fertility and interfere with implantation. Obesity or underweight conditions can also affect hormonal balance and implantation.
  5. Stress: High levels of stress can cause hormonal changes that may interfere with implantation.
  6. Age: Fertility tends to decrease with age, and this includes a decrease in the quality of eggs and potentially a reduced chance of successful implantation.
  7. Poor Quality Embryos: For those undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), the quality of the embryo transferred can play a significant role. Embryos with genetic abnormalities or other defects may fail to implant.

It’s important to note that while these factors can potentially interfere with implantation, they do not guarantee failure of implantation. Every individual’s circumstances are different and these factors can often be managed with proper medical care and lifestyle modifications.

As always, it’s recommended that you consult with a healthcare provider or fertility specialist to understand more about your individual circumstances and potential interventions. They can provide the most accurate and up-to-date advice based on your specific circumstances and the latest research

The Importance of Overall Health

Maintaining good overall health can positively influence the implantation process and support a successful pregnancy. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate rest, and stress management are all crucial elements of good health that contribute to fertility.



Balancing Health and Fertility

While being sick with a common cold or flu may not directly affect implantation, factors related to illness – such as high fever, stress, and some medications – might have an impact. When you’re trying to conceive, maintain the best health possible and seek advice from your healthcare provider when you’re unwell.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can cold and flu medications affect implantation?

Some medications may potentially impact ovulation and fertility. It’s best to consult your healthcare provider if you’re unwell and trying to conceive.

Can a high fever affect implantation?

Yes, a high fever indicative of severe illness can affect implantation and other processes vital for a successful pregnancy.

Can stress from being sick affect implantation?

Yes, elevated stress levels from being sick can impact your body’s hormonal balance, potentially influencing implantation.

What should I do if I fall sick during early pregnancy?

Rest, hydrate, and seek medical advice. Monitor your symptoms and contact your healthcare provider if they persist or worsen.

How can I maintain good fertility health?

Good overall health supports fertility. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate rest, and stress management can all contribute positively.

Bed Rest After Embryo Transfer – Is it Necessary?

Bed rest following an embryo transfer has been a common recommendation in fertility clinics for many years. The idea behind it is simple: to maximize the chances of successful implantation by minimizing any potential physical stress or disturbance that could interfere with the process.

However, more recent studies suggest that prolonged bed rest might not be necessary and, in fact, could potentially have a negative effect.

A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility in 2011 found no significant difference in pregnancy rates between women who were prescribed bed rest and those who resumed their normal activities immediately after embryo transfer. Moreover, they noticed an increased risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) in those who had bed rest.

Another study published in the journal Human Reproduction in 2013 echoed these results. The researchers found that the practice of prescribing bed rest should be abandoned given the absence of beneficial effects and the potential for harm.

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the current trend in assisted reproductive technology practices is towards encouraging women to resume light activities shortly after embryo transfer.

Of course, every individual’s circumstances are different, and different fertility clinics might have their own protocols. Therefore, it is always best to follow your own healthcare provider’s recommendations based on your specific situation and health status.

Remember to always consult with your healthcare provider or fertility specialist about any concerns or questions you may have. They can provide the most accurate and up-to-date advice based on the latest research and your specific circumstances.


  1. Purcell, K., Schembri, M., Frazier, L. M., Rall, M. J., Shen, S., Croughan, M., Grainger, D. A., & Fujimoto, V. Y. (2011). Asian ethnicity is associated with reduced pregnancy outcomes after assisted reproductive technology. Fertility and sterility, 95(2), 819-825.
  2. Gaikwad, S., Garrido, N., Cobo, A., Pellicer, A., & Remohi, J. (2013). Bed rest after embryo transfer: a randomized controlled trial. Human reproduction (Oxford, England), 28(4), 991–998.


This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.