When you're ready to start a family, you and your sweetheart want to get pregnant yesterday. But sometimes getting pregnant on your own doesn't happen right away. When months or even years of trying hasn't resulted in a baby, your doctor may recommend a course of treatment to get things moving in the right direction. One medicine he might prescribe is called Clomid, a synthetic chemical that encourages a woman's body to ovulate.
How Does Clomid Work?
Clomid's chemical name is Clomiphene citrate. It works by interfering with the estrogen receptors in the hypothalamus. This results in your body thinking its low on estrogen, making your pituitary produce hormones to supply more. In the process, your body is stimulated into ovulation. Using Clomid to induce ovulation is helpful when you have an irregular menstrual cycle, which makes it difficult to predict when your body ovulates naturally. It can also help the chances of artificial insemination being successful. Your doctor may even prescribe it if you and your partner have no obvious reasons for not conceiving alone.
When to Take It
Your doctor will tell you to call his office when your period starts. When it does, he'll schedule a pelvic exam within about three days, after which he'll decide exactly when you should begin taking Clomid. You'll take one to three tablets a day for five days early in your cycle. Ovulation should occur about one week after you've taken your last dose of Clomid. You can check on this using one of a variety of methods, including basal temperature measuring, blood tests, Luteinizing hormone kit testing and ultrasound. Your doctor will help you choose which method is best for you.
Side Effects and Risks
Obviously, the most desired side effect is pregnancy. Clomid is powerful: over half of all women who take it ovulate, according to Baby Med. Other, less exciting side effects include moodiness, hot flashes, changes in sleep patterns, bloating and discomfort during sex. The chances of multiple ovulations is slightly elevated with Clomid. Serious, though rare, conditions include overstimulated ovaries, causing them to enlarge and become painful. Hair thinning, dizziness, vision changes and hives are also possible but rare side effects. Those with ovarian cysts or liver disease should not take Clomid.
Costs and Insurance Coverage
At the time this article was published, traditional health insurance plans rarely covered fertility treatments, according to Growing Family Benefits. Some only cover fertility treatments when required to do so by state law. Supplemental plans are useful when Clomid is successful and you become pregnant; they can pay dividends during the pregnancy and during maternity leave. Prescription drug plans lessen the cost of filling your Clomid prescription; generic brands have the lowest copayment.