Concern #1: Is cramping normal?
Yes, mild cramping is normal. Cramping is associated with embryo implantation. The cramping usually feels like mild discomfort. Cramping that develops into severe pain should be looked at by a doctor. The cramping is often associated with tender breasts, a result of increased estrogen levels.
Concern #2: What about spotting or dark discharge?
Spotting or discharge after embryo transfer is normal and to be expected. Spotting can actually be a good sign and points to embryo implantation in the uterine wall. Excessive bleeding and cramping should immediately be brought to the attention of a medical professional. Spotting typically occurs in the second week after the transfer.
Concern #3: Is sex OK?
The stance on sex after IVF varies from doctor to doctor. Some doctors encourage sex as a way to maintain intimacy during a very stressful time. There is no conclusive evidence that sex immediately after IVF will have negative repercussions. Sex cannot harm the developing embryo. However, some doctors advise against sex, as having sex may increase the chance of infection and orgasm could cause premature contractions. Sex after IVF should be a personal decision and discussed with the couple’s healthcare provider.
Concern #4: Is bed rest necessary?
Unless prescribed by the doctor, bedrest is not necessary. There is no medical evidence to support that bedrest during the 2-week waiting period is beneficial. In fact, regular activity with light exercise is recommended to keep the body healthy and encourage implantation.
Concern #5: If baths are out of the question, what about hot showers?
Quick 2-minute hot showers are fine. Patients should avoid increasing internal body temperature through hot tubs and saunas. Increasing internal body temperature can cause premature uterine contractions. Submersion in water, such as a pool or hot tub, increases the chance of infection and should be avoided during the 2-week waiting period.
Have no fear, concerns are normal
Increased concern after IVF embryo transfer is normal. Having a strong support system and communicating with medical professionals can relieve many concerns. Couples should speak with a healthcare provider about any specific concerns regarding the IVF process.