After your embryo transfer during in vitro fertilization (IVF), it can take between 1-5 days for the embryo to implant in your uterus, and 5-14 days for hCG to build up enough in your blood to be detected by a pregnancy test. During this time, you may be anxious to do anything you can to optimize your chance of success. It’s helpful to know what you can do – and what you don’t have to worry about – as you wait for your pregnancy test.
Prenatal vitamins can ensure that you are getting enough folate to support your baby’s early growth and lower your risk of adverse birth outcomes (1). Taking Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, especially those that contain DHA, throughout your pregnancy may help with fetal neurodevelopment (2).
Foods to eat after embryo transfer include lean proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of fruits and vegetables to help your body prepare for pregnancy.
If your clinician prescribed medications to help support implantation and early pregnancy, such as progesterone or estrogen supplements, you should continue to take those until your clinician tells you that you can stop. If you have painful or uncomfortable side effects from the medications, which sometimes happens with progesterone injections, talk to your clinician about whether there’s an alternative you can try, such as vaginal progesterone suppositories or the vaginal gel Crinone.
You may be concerned that exercising right away may harm your chance of success. However, a 2021 study published in Reproductive Biomedicine Online found no difference in embryo transfer success rates between patients who resumed regular activity immediately and ones who lessened activity (3).
Waiting for the pregnancy test can be an anxious time! Connecting with loved ones – whether friends, family, or a partner – can strengthen the bonds that will help you through whatever comes next.
This is a good time to care for yourself by going for walks, doing yoga, visiting with friends, eating delicious foods, and doing things that make you happy. At this stage in the process, you are mostly caring for yourself and ensuring you are taking your medications. Implantation will or will not happen regardless of what you do!
It’s time to change your habits to those of a pregnant person. Alcohol and caffeine (over 200mg per day) can negatively affect your fetus, and raw animal products can have bacteria that can cause illness.
If you are taking vaginal medications, you should avoid swimming or bathing until you are no longer taking those medications. It’s also important not to raise your body temperature too high during this time.
It’s very tempting to take a pregnancy test immediately after embryo transfer! However, until the embryo has implanted and has transferred enough hCG into your blood to be detected, the beta hCG blood test used to confirm pregnancy will not give you an accurate result. It’s especially important to wait if you have taken hCG as a medication, such as a trigger shot before a fresh transfer. Because of all this, it’s better to wait until you can take a test at your fertility clinic to avoid the heartbreak of a false negative or false positive result.
It’s hard to be patient after embryo transfer as you wait for your pregnancy test results after so much fertility treatment. Following the guidelines above can help you feel active and in control during this stage of your fertility journey.
Scholl, Theresa O, and William G Johnson. “Folic Acid: Influence on the Outcome of Pregnancy.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 71, no. 5, 1 May 2000, pp. 1295S1303S, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/71.5.1295s.
Devarshi, Prasad P., et al. “Maternal Omega-3 Nutrition, Placental Transfer and Fetal Brain Development in Gestational Diabetes and Preeclampsia.” Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 5, 18 May 2019, p. 1107, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051107.
Zemet, Roni, et al. “The Association between Level of Physical Activity and Pregnancy Rate after Embryo Transfer: A Prospective Study.” Reproductive Biomedicine Online, vol. 42, no. 5, 1 May 2021, pp. 930–937, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2021.01.013. Accessed 1 June 2023.
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