When you're going through in vitro fertilization (IVF), you may feel like you're on pins and needles after your embryo transfer. It's natural to feel impatient waiting to find out if it was successful. Remember, the success rate after treatment by IVF depends on the characteristics of the couples being treated, and the performance of the clinic.
Still, you may be wondering what you should do after your transfer or what you should avoid doing that may improve your chances of a positive outcome.
To some degree, pregnancy success after an embryo transfer has very little to do with your precautions. Still, there are a few things you can do that may help.
Relax – Not just your body, but your mind. Time to put your feet up! It's already been a process to arrive at this point. Your body has worked hard and will continue to work hard for at least a couple of weeks, possibly up to that all-important 9 months. Take a break; you've earned it. It is also time to quiet down all the swirling "what if" thoughts in your brain. You’ve already crossed off a few of those scenarios. Do whatever brings you a little peace: deep breaths a few times a day, yoga, meditation, ASMR videos, mindless TV, books, chatting with a friend.
Eat well – you need nutrition as much as ever now. Eat to nourish your body: whole foods, various fruits and vegetables, and proteins. And eat as if you are already pregnant, so avoid soft cheese and high-mercury fish.
Drink fluids – staying hydrated is always good for you, but now it can help your endometrial cells. Water, juice, and milk are the most hydrating for your body. Carbonated beverages may have caffeine and are generally not as hydrating, so avoid caffeine and choose non-carbonated drinks. And, of course, no alcohol.
Keep up your medication regime – sorry, your injections and suppositories aren't over with. Your doctor and their team will advise you if there will be any adjustments to your doses or meds, but progesterone likely will stay in the mix because it helps the embryo implant in the uterus and stays implanted.
Check what you are touching or putting ON your body – make sure endocrine disruptors and other potentially harmful substances aren't in your environment. Take this chance to look at ingredients in soaps, lotions, and other things you touch daily. Ensure they don't contain phthalates, parabens, or bisphenol A (BPA).
Serve yourself a heaping helping of patience – yep, more waiting, as if you haven't done enough already. Guess what? It's great preparation for parenthood anyway.
Intense exercise – you’ll want to avoid intense exercise and possibly work, if it involves heavy lifting or vigorous activity. Sorry about your gym membership. (Maybe they'll let you put it on pause?) Those aerobics classes, spin classes, and running groups will have to wait. High-impact exercise can raise your body temperature and even stimulate uterine contractions, neither of which is good for embryo implantation. So, keep it low-key with gentle yoga, a mellow walk, or light housework at the most. (Basically, if it bounces a ponytail, don’t do it!)
Sexual intercourse – yep, still. Same as with vigorous exercise, sexual intercourse can cause uterine contractions and potentially interfere with implantation. Remember, this is temporary.
Take a bath or swim – stay above water. Being submerged in a bathtub, pool, or at the beach could introduce the possibility of an infection. Best to just avoid any possibility until you know the coast is clear.
Take a home pregnancy test – it might not be accurate at the moment, and you have had enough to worry about without false hope or wrongful sorrow.
You've already been at this fertility thing for a while now, so remember to treat this as a short interlude of lifestyle adjustments. If you have any doubts about whether or not you should do something during this time period, consult your doctor.
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