The last time I had the stomach flu, I'm pretty sure the very LAST thing on my mind was getting frisky. However, I was surprised to learn that even if I was taking my birth control pills, having the stomach flu could still put me at risk for having an unplanned pregnancy. That option gets a hard no from me. 

My mom is a family doctor, which means that I never got to fake sick to ditch school and that I've had about 8 lifetimes worth of very detailed safe sex talks. I'm pretty sure my birds and the bees talk included diagrams. It's safe to say I never asked again.

So What's The Sitch?

Having a doctor for a mom also means that I can get really great medical advice whenever I want or even when I don't want it. When I was heading over to my boyfriend's a couple days after recovering from the stomach flu and my mom casually asked if I was planning to have sex there, it's fair to say I was shocked for a number of reasons. (Yeah, I'm pretty sure my mom is more comfortable with me being sexually active than I am)

It turns out that since I had spent the last week vomiting up all of the contents of my stomach Saturday-night-after-the-bar style, there was a fair chance that the hormones from my birth control pills wouldn't have fully absorbed, leaving me unprotected. Oral contraceptives AKA birth control pills are mainly absorbed in the small bowel, and if they aren't fully absorbed, their failure rate goes way up

This lack of protection can sometimes also apply if you had sex shortly before showing major symptoms of the stomach flu (i.e. throwing up). So, if you're worried something bun related might be cooking in your oven, review your options sooner rather than later — whether that's an emergency contraceptive or a doctor's visit. Or as a general life rule, if you feel like you might vomit, probably don't have sex.

How To Protect Yourself:

cucumber, vegetable, courgette, pasture, banana
Madelyn B Bucher

If you do want to have sex within a week of having the stomach flu, just make sure that you're using an extra level of protection, like a condom. If you're someone who regularly gets the stomach flu — in which case, I am SO sorry — or another digestive inflammatory disease, you might want to look into another type of birth control like an IUD, patch, shot, or ring. As long as it doesn't require digestion and fits your personal and health needs, you're good to go.

The next time you or someone you know gets the stomach flu, getting pregnant is probably not something they/you want added to their plate. So toss 'em a link to this article, or think back to this, and keep the baby-free times rolling.