If you are reading this, you have likely just gone through an IVF embryo transfer or will be very soon. Congratulations! This is a huge step in your journey.
As a mother myself, I know that you want to do everything exactly right to ensure the most success for growing your little one. You are likely wondering what is okay and what is not okay following an embryo transfer.
I am confident that your provider will give you guidance; however, here is a list of the most important dos and don’ts to keep in mind after your transfer.
✔ Pamper Yourself
IVF is not an easy process. It can be both physically taxing and mentally draining. After your transfer, it is important to spoil yourself a little bit and thank your body for everything it is doing. Go to the spa, get a pedicure, try a relaxing massage, and treat yourself to something new that will make you feel good.
✔ Try To Relax
Even though your mind is likely swirling with possibilities and what-ifs, try to relax. Stress has a profound impact on fertility, so you want to do all that you can to keep your stress levels down. The best thing for your body right now is rest and relaxation.
✔ Get Plenty of Rest
Rest is important for pregnancy, no matter how you are getting there. Your body is putting in a lot of work and expending a lot of energy even though you may not feel it. Don’t try to bounce back into your normal day-to-day life. Take a break from work if you have a physically demanding job, and give your body time to rest and do its work.
✔ Maintain a Healthy Diet
It is very important to fuel your body with good things, especially right now. Focus on eating whole foods and keeping your diet full of vitamins and nutrients.
Many experts recommend the Mediterranean diet after embryo transfer as it is linked to increased chances of IVF success. This diet consists of healthy fats, leafy vegetables, and foods rich in zinc and folic acid, such as:
- Whole grains
- Citrus fruits
- Chia seeds
- Nut butters
✔ Begin Prenatal Vitamins or Folic Acid Supplement
Folic acid, or B9, is vital to the synthesis of DNA, production of red blood cells, and brain and immune function. It is especially helpful for women who are trying to conceive because it helps prevent the fetus from developing major congenital deformities of the brain or spine. Research shows that there is higher reproductive IVF success among women who have a higher folate intake.
✔ Increase Omega 3 Intake
Increased consumption of omega 3 fatty acids has been associated with improved embryo implantation because of their role in the endometrial lining, implantation, and brain and nervous system development. Consider taking a high-quality fish oil or other supplements to ensure you are getting your essential fatty acids.
✔ Drink Plenty of Water
Hydration is often overlooked, but its importance should never be undermined. Dehydration can lead to extra cervical irritation during embryo transfer as well as a number of other problems. Be sure to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
✔ Continue With Prescribed Medications
If you take prescriptions regularly, consult with your doctor prior to your transfer to ensure it is okay to continue with your prescribed medications as usual. Any drugs your fertility doctor prescribes should be continued until you’re advised otherwise.
✔ Enjoy Light Activity
While it is important to rest and relax, you do not want to just do nothing all day. Light movement is good for both your physical and mental health. Go for a walk or light jog, ride a bike outdoors, or go for an easy swim in the pool to get your body moving.
✔ Feel Free To Travel
Traveling is perfectly safe to do after an IVF transfer. Do not cancel your vacation plans because they fall after your transfer date. It may be just what you need to get your mind off of your stressors and help your body to relax.
✔ Use the Bathroom as Needed
You may find yourself running to the bathroom more frequently than usual after your transfer. This is normal and often a positive sign that the transfer was successful. The increased blood supply in your body will result in more frequent urination. However, if you experience painful urination, fever, vomiting, or bleeding, it is important to contact your doctor to rule out a urinary tract infection.
✔ Keep Your Mind Occupied
As mentioned before, keeping your mind from worrying or stressing too much could have a huge impact on transfer success. While waiting for your next appointment, keep your mind busy with other things.
✔ Focus on Positive Thinking
Our thoughts and way of thinking have a greater influence than we realize. Embryo transfer can cause a variety of mixed emotions including worry, excitement, nervousness, and anxiety. Instead of focusing on the what-ifs or worrying about what could go wrong, try to keep your thoughts positive, and think about what could go right.
✔ Tell Your Doctor About Any Concerning Issues
No one is more in tune with your body than you are. If something feels off or you are concerned about something, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor. In my opinion, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry that you were too scared or embarrassed to talk to someone.
✘ Avoid Junk Food
You should always try to limit the amount of sugar, simple carbohydrates, and processed foods in your diet. However, it is especially important to avoid these foods after an embryo transfer. It certainly does not hurt to treat yourself every now and then; however, try to not make junk food a daily part of your diet. The excess sugar can negatively affect the body’s hormonal imbalance and decrease the chances of a successful transfer.
✘ Take Showers Instead of Baths
It is important to avoid taking a hot bath after an embryo transfer. Embryos are extremely sensitive to heat, and elevating your body temperature can affect the chances of the embryo implanting into the uterus. Also, baths can increase the chance of infection, so skip them until your doctor gives you the green light.
✘ Avoid Strenuous Exercise & Activities
You may still exercise after your embryo transfer. In fact, exercise helps increase blood flow, which is important in the transfer process. However, you should definitely take it lightly for the first two weeks. Low-impact activities such as swimming and walking are best.
✘ Avoid Swimming, Hot Tubs & Saunas
While swimming is a safe exercise to do within the first two weeks after a transfer, you will want to make sure the water temperature is not too high or that your body temperature does not get too elevated. You should avoid sitting in a hot tub or sauna as high temperatures can decrease the chances of implantation.
✘ Refrain From Sex
It is not likely that having sex will affect your chances of a successful transfer; however, many doctors recommend waiting two weeks before having intercourse to avoid uterine contractions from orgasm.
✘ No Alcohol
The purpose of an embryo transfer is to hopefully have a successful implantation and conceive a child. Alcohol is not safe for pregnancy. Therefore, women are encouraged to stop drinking after embryo transfer.
✘ Avoid Caffeine & Carbonated Drinks
Caffeine and carbonated drinks are okay in moderation, but you should be careful about how much you consume when trying to conceive. Studies have shown that high caffeine intake can affect a woman’s ability to conceive.
✘ Avoid Cigarette Smoke & Other Pollution
While it is always important to steer clear of harmful toxins and pollutants, it is especially important when you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant via embryo transfer.
✘ Steer Clear of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
You may want to try to avoid or limit your exposure to household or beauty products that contain substances like BPA, phthalates, parabens, and triclosan among others. These substances can affect reproductive function in women.
✘ Avoid Anti-Inflammatories
Some over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, might affect the embryo transfer process and increase the chance of miscarriage.
✘ Avoid Taking At-Home Pregnancy Tests
Most clinics recommend resisting the urge to take an at-home pregnancy test in order to avoid false results. Patients who have undergone an embryo transfer should wait two weeks and find out their results via a blood test.
I hope that you were able to find guidance and comfort in this list. Keep in mind that it is not comprehensive, and any questions or concerns that you have should be discussed with your provider.
Congratulations on making it this far in your journey, and I wish you the very best of luck moving forward!