Will it be harder to become pregnant if I have very irregular periods?

Q: My husband and I are trying for a baby.  I have never had regular periods -- sometimes it will only be two weeks in-between.  Does this mean that I will ovulate more or less?  Or will we have more problems trying to conceive?

A: Having an irregular menstrual cycle can make conceiving a baby a little more difficult for women.  There are many reasons for having an irregular cycle, so it's important to get checked out by your doctor and to run the appropriate tests.  For example, having an over-active or under-active thyroid can cause irregularities in a woman's menstrual cycle.  Untreated thyroid issues can also increase the risk of miscarriage.  So, it's important to see your doctor first.  

If all issues have been ruled out, the cause of your irregular periods may be due to hypothalamic-pituitary-axis dysfunction.  This is a really big medical term for poor communication between your ovaries and brain, leading to less frequent ovulation.  If your cycles are commonly longer than 35 days, you are ovulating less frequently and it is a bit more difficult to conceive because there are fewer opportunities each year (since fewer eggs are being released).  Checking an over-the-counter ovulation predictor can be useful in helping you gauge when to conceive.


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