Post IVF Do’s and Don’ts: Sex, Exercise, Diet and More
So, you have finally gone past embryo transfer—what a feat in your IVF journey! The end of your IVF cycle is in sight, but before you jump with joy—which is strongly not advisable post IVF—you must know how to take proper care of yourself to ensure success.
Do’s and don’ts after IVF transfer
For most couples, embryo transfer is the most exciting stage of their IVF cycle. During this procedure, the fertilized egg is placed into the uterus. After which, many await good news – though, there is no guarantee that conception will happen. However, it is important you take care of yourself.
Below, some do’s and don’ts post-IVF transfer:
Continue your medications
After your embryo transfer, your fertility doctor should prescribe a list of medications with specific dosage and instructions on how often these should be taken. You may experience symptoms in the succeeding days, such as:
- Breasts that are sore
- Light spotting
- Mood swings
- Slight bloating
These signs may indicate pregnancy, but whatever happens during the waiting period, do not skip or stop taking your prescribed medications unless advised by your doctor.
Have sufficient bed rest
Your body will need all the rest right after embryo transfer. The implantation of the embryo can happen within 6-10 days for day-3 transfer and between 1-5 days for a blastocyst transfer. Complete bed rest is not strictly necessary all throughout; it is also important that you get some movement in.
Some walking is fine. Many use this period of downtime to take up a new hobby that doesn’t require too much physical exertion, like reading or knitting – anything that keeps you occupied and doesn’t affect your psychological well being!
Practice a healthy diet
Eating nutritious meals post IVF is a great way to prepare your body to welcome and keep a baby for nine months, if the implantation becomes successful. Keep your kitchen stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables that you can eat any time. Foods packed with B-vitamins, calcium, iron, and protein are also highly recommended.
Drink a lot of water and fluids, except alcoholic beverages! Keeping yourself hydrated with water and healthy fluids, such as fruit juices and smoothies, helps manage the body’s cells and enables them to perform properly.
Do strenuous activities and exercises
While exercise is encouraged, activities that require you to exert effort and do heavy lifting is a big NO. Try light exercises like walking and even fertility yoga. Our sister company, BeNatural, has an array of fertility-safe programs, from breathwork to guided yoga classes.
As always, before embarking on any activity, get the green light from your doctor and ensure you are guided by a certified instructor at all times!
Go swimming, use a bathtub, or go to a sauna
Submerging yourself in water and taking hot baths can place you at risk of getting an infection—and this is the last thing that you want to develop post-IVF. During this period, quick, warm showers are the way to go.
Have sexual intercourse
Sex after embryo transfer is not encouraged as this can lead to contractions in your uterus, which can negatively affect the implantation of the newly transferred embryo.
Take a pregnancy test
Taking a pregnancy test at home ahead of your doctor’s advised schedule can give you a false-positive or false-negative result. Doing so can also cause unnecessary stress and expectations. You should wait about two weeks to take a beta human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) test at your doctor’s clinic. Beta hCG is a blood test ² that quantifies the amount of hormone present in the blood. This test gives a more accurate pregnancy result as compared to at-home urine tests.
Travel for a long time
Travelling for an extended period of time can exhaust your body and compromise the embryo transfer. Travelling can also expose you to viruses, such as COVID-19 and Zika, which can affect your unborn child in the event you are pregnant successfully – always better to be safe than sorry!
In short, you’re not limited much, and can still do most of the things you were doing pre-IVF – just safely, in moderation and with your doctor’s clearance. Most of all, enjoy the process. Self care plays a huge role in fertility, and creating new life shouldn’t be seen as a task.
¹ Blumberg, D., Sridhar, A., Lakshminrusimha, S., Higgins, R. D., & Saade, G. (2021). COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations during Pregnancy and Lactation. American journal of perinatology, 38(6), 523–528. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0041-1726390
² Wu, B., PhD. (2018, March 16). Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) Blood Test. Healthline. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/hcg-blood-test-quantitative#hcg-test-and-pregnancy