IVF Cramping: Cramping After Embryo Transfer

Cramping After Embryo Transfer

Cramping can occasionally occur after the embryo has been transferred to the mother. Given the nature of the procedure and embryo implantation, this is not unusual. The cramping frequently resembles that that women have during their regular monthly period.

Many people have cramping at various times throughout the IVF treatment. It can be a common response to hormonal changes and the usage of reproductive medications. It can also be a typical reaction to the conception process.

We do want to point out that severe cramps and spotting should raise some red flags. If you do have this problem or any other serious side effects while undergoing IVF, please consult with your doctor right away just to be on the safe side.

Young woman suffering from cramps

Fertility Drugs and Cramps

In order to accurately control a woman’s cycle, fertility medications support in balancing her hormone levels. IVF success rates are thus increased. It’s common to suffer cramps after using fertility medications, and they go away once your hormone levels are back in balance.

Post-IVF Anxiety and Cramps

Patients frequently worry about the success of the IVF process after embryo transfer. Two weeks pass before the formal pregnancy test, and a patient may have a lot of fears and concerns. These may cause cramping or exacerbate already present natural cramping.

Just remember that your anxiety is normal and that you are not alone. To the best of your abilities, try to unwind and reduce your tension during this time. Perhaps just realizing that what you’re experiencing is normal would make you feel more at ease and in control.

Take Over-the-Counter Pain Medications

Regular or enhanced strength Tylenol are permitted before, during, and after the IVF cycle. Ibuprofen-containing medicines like Advil and Aleve must be avoided, though. Please speak with a doctor before taking anything, even herbal supplements.

Spotting or Bleeding After IVF

Spotting following embryo transfer is a common worry for many IVF patients. Even a small amount of blood tends to raise questions for a woman who is trying to get pregnant.

Such post-embryo transfer spotting often happens 7–10 days after the transfer. This often lasts three to five days and is self-limiting.

This is a precursor to pregnancy and can occasionally be accompanied by mild cramps, nausea and sore breasts. Each patient is different, and not everyone experiences the same side effects.

IVF-achieved pregnancies have more bleeding than naturally occurring pregnancies do. About 40% of IVF-conceived women report bleeding or spotting after the transfer.

Spotting and bleeding, to put it simply, do not necessarily indicate that you are suffering a miscarriage.

When to Call Your Doctor After IVF

If cramping is also accompanied by other symptoms like heavy bleeding, difficulty urinating, shortness of breath, nausea, or vomiting, it should be reported immediately to our doctor. These might be signs of ovarian torsion or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, both of which call for medical treatment.


Learn the truth about the pain associated with the IVF procedure.

Things to Do (and Not Do) After Embryo Transfer

You can have nervousness after your embryo transfer as you excitedly wait to learn whether it was successful. You might be wondering what to do and what not to do following your embryo transfer.

So what can you do?

What to Do After an Embryo Transfer

So you’re on pins and needles wondering what you can and cannot do. Let’s go over some things you should do.

Take Your Medications

In order to give their pregnancy the best chance of progressing, many women must continue taking progesterone in the first several weeks following the transfer. Because progesterone is a vital hormone for maintaining a pregnancy, it is frequently utilized in assisted reproductive techniques like IVF.

Continuing your medication aids in the embryo’s implantation and preservation in the uterus.

Avoid Household Chemicals

Use items that don’t include ingredients like bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, parabens, and triclosan, among others, or attempt to limit your exposure to them. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, are what these are.

Chemicals known as EDCs have the potential to alter how your body’s hormones are intended to function. The Endocrine Society claims that some EDCs can pass through the placenta and accumulate in your baby’s circulation during a particularly vulnerable stage of development.

These substances may potentially obstruct the organ development of your unborn child. Early exposure to these substances at high concentrations may later result in additional developmental problems.

Eat Healthy

If everything goes as planned, you’ll spend the next nine months creating a little human inside of your body. This is an excellent time to adopt the healthy dietary practices that nutritionists advise for expectant women.

A variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as diets high in calcium, protein, B vitamins, and iron are ideal. But even if you’re eating well, go ahead and include a prenatal vitamin in your daily regimen.

Be Kind to Yourself

It is hoped that the embryo will implant after the transfer. Give yourself a few days to unwind and rest, as it takes a few days for good things to happen inside of your body. If you can, some experts will advise you to take some time off, and others may even advise you to forgo the intense workouts.

But do not fret. You don’t have to spend all of your time lying down or taking bed rest. If you don’t keep your feet up, the embryo won’t come out. 

Taking it slow will assist with the emotional rollercoaster you may be experiencing more than just as a physical precaution. Invest some time reading. Enjoy some romantic comedies on Netflix. Enjoy amusing cat videos. All of this may be beneficial self-care while you wait.

Take a Folic Acid Supplement

It’s time to start taking folic acid supplements if you aren’t already. The benefits of taking folic acid when pregnant are numerous. This crucial B vitamin is required in amounts of 400 mcg to avoid neural tube abnormalities.

According to a 2015 analysis of scientific data, folic acid supplementation during pregnancy is also linked to a decreased incidence of congenital heart abnormalities in children.

Additionally, evidence indicates that folic acid may lessen the possibility that your child may have a cleft lip or palate.

Your prenatal vitamin will often provide all the folic acid you require.


Discover the ins and outs of embryo adoption and how embryo adoption works.

What Not to Do After an Embryo Transfer

Now let’s take a look at what you shouldn’t do.

Don’t Ignore Symptoms

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is a problem that some women using reproductive medications may have (OHSS). This may occur if your body reacts irregularly to the hormones that were administered during the IVF procedure.

Watch out for the following symptoms for possible signs of OHSS:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Nausea

The above symptoms may be mild, but they can also get worse very fast if you have this syndrome.

Don’t wait if you suddenly gain weight or get significant abdominal discomfort. To find out what to do next, give your doctor a call and discuss your symptoms.

Avoid the Temptation to Take a Pregnancy Test

There will be a strong impulse to urinate on a stick immediately.  However, try to repress the impulse to run to the store to buy a pregnancy test.

From the day after transfer, it may take up to a few weeks before the placenta cells begin to produce enough of the hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) for a blood test to pick it up.

Schedule some time off from work until you can visit your doctor again so they can do a pregnancy test.

How Long After Embryo Transfer Can You Have Intercourse?

Many clinics advise women to abstain from sexual activity for up to 48 hours or two weeks. This was first recommended because it was believed that uterine contractions brought on by an orgasm and the introduction of infection would negatively affect implantation and possibly endanger the embryo.

Abstaining is not always the recommendation by everyone these days. So as with every step of your IVF process and everything else medically related, you will want to follow your doctor’s instructions.

When Can You Take a Bath After Embryo Transfer?

After the embryo transfer, you should wait at least a week and preferably two weeks before enjoying a bath, pool, or Jacuzzi to prevent infection or medication interference. However, you can take a shower.

Stress and IVF

The process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) is emotionally and psychologically taxing. Stress is experienced in various ways before, during, and/or after IVF therapy. The prospect of irreversible infertility and the subsequent loss of hope are a constant source of stress.

The threat of the therapy itself, which includes daily injections, blood draws, ultrasound, oocyte retrieval, and the potential for failure at any of the several rounds, is another cause of stress.

The threat of spontaneous abortion is the third cause of stress (miscarriage).


Learn the things you should not do after an IVF transfer.

What Is a Blighted Ovum?

A fertilized egg that implants in the uterus but fails to develop into an embryo is referred to as a “blighted ovum.” It is also known as an anembryonic pregnancy (no embryo) and is one of the main reasons for early pregnancy failure or miscarriage. Frequently, it happens so early that you are unaware that you are pregnant.

One out of every two miscarriages in the first trimester of pregnancy is due to a blighted ovum. When a pregnancy spontaneously stops in the first 20 weeks, it is referred to as a miscarriage.

Blighted Ovum and Cramps

How does a miscarriage due to a blighted ovum begin? Vaginal bleeding and cramps are signs of a blighted ovum miscarriage. A miscarriage is more painful than a typical menstrual period. For cramp relief, you can take an over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen.

Symptoms of Pregnancy After IVF

Estrogen and progesterone are commonly taken before the embryo transfer, and the progesterone taken after the transfer mimics the bloating, sore breasts, and discharge of pregnancy.

However, many people still keep a close eye on any positive sign that may indicate a successful embryo transfer.

And while you may experience some or none of these symptoms, it’s important to understand their roles in the process.

Symptoms may be as follows:

Sore Breasts

If your breasts are swollen, sore to the touch, or ache when you bump against them, this can indicate that the embryo transfer was successful.

Pregnancy hormones have the effect of making breasts sensitive.

During the two-week waiting period, the hormone medicine you’re taking may cause sore breasts. Breast discomfort is also known to be brought on by oral and injectable progesterone.

Changes in Discharge

You might notice changes in vaginal discharge that are unrelated to a positive pregnancy test if your doctor prescribes progesterone in the form of suppositories, gel, or vaginal pills to use during the 2-week wait.

Using vaginal capsules or suppositories might cause adverse effects including burning, irritation, discharge, and yeast infections.

Another early indicator of pregnancy is an increase in vaginal discharge.

You could have a thin, white discharge in the first few weeks of pregnancy if the changes are the result of a successful embryo transfer and ultimately a positive pregnancy test.

Nausea

It’s unlikely that you would have morning sickness or nausea in the two weeks after an embryo transfer because these symptoms normally begin in the second month of pregnancy.

In fact, a lot of those who do experience this unpleasant symptom say they feel sick to their stomach two weeks after their period is missed.

Take note of any nausea or vomiting you do have throughout the 2-week interval, especially if it starts to happen frequently, and consult your doctor if necessary.

Bleeding or Spotting

The first indication of pregnancy is frequently light bleeding or spotting.

Spotting in your underwear or on toilet paper may be a sign of implantation, which occurs when the embryo implants into the lining of the uterine wall.

A week following embryo transfer, spotting or bleeding may be a positive indication. Unfortunately, bleeding is such a worrying symptom that it often leaves individuals feeling unsettled.

Additionally, spotting is frequently experienced while using hormone supplements like progesterone during the first two weeks following embryo transfer.

Spotting may or may not be an indication of a successful embryo transfer because your doctor will probably advise you to continue taking progesterone to ensure your body generates the same amount of hormones it would during the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Bloating

Your increased tummy bloat can be attributed to an increase in progesterone levels. This hormone can slow down your digestive system and make you feel bloated.

When using progesterone and other medications during in vitro fertilization, following an embryo transfer, or just before your period, whether you’re pregnant, or before your menstruation, bloating is common.

Increased Need to Pee

Early pregnancy may be indicated by frequent pit stops and late-night restroom visits.

Some people may become more aware of the urge to urinate more frequently before missing a period.

An increase in the pregnancy hormone hCG, as well as an increase in progesterone, are the causes of frequent toilet visits.

If the embryo transfer was successful, the excess blood in your body is the probable cause of your increased urge to urinate.

Tiredness or Fatigue

Feeling exhausted and worn out seems to be a common experience from pregnancy to birth. However, if your progesterone levels are high in the morning, you can feel particularly tired.

Most people experience fatigue around the time their period is due. However, fatigue can also be a sign of a successful embryo transfer. It could also be a side effect of the numerous fertility medications you’re taking.

Increased progesterone levels, whether from pregnancy or the drugs your doctor prescribes, are the most frequent cause of tiredness.

Cramping

One of the signs of the start of a period is cramping. It could also indicate that an embryo transfer went well.

According to the National Infertility Association, a little cramping may also be related to the progesterone you’re taking during the 2-week waiting period before you take a pregnancy test.

Mild cramping may also start right after any pelvic treatment for some patients.

Missed Period

A missed period might be an indication of pregnancy, particularly if your cycle is regular. Those whose periods typically arrive on the same day every month may want to consider taking a pregnancy test if their cycle is late.

No symptoms

Don’t be concerned if you realize that none of these symptoms apply. Even if you aren’t exhibiting any particular symptoms, the embryo transfer can still have gone well.

These symptoms are non-specific and do not indicate whether a pregnancy will succeed or fail. The most frequent cause of the listed symptoms is the injection of estrogen and progesterone.

In reality, 10 to 15% of patients have a positive pregnancy test despite the fact that they exhibit no symptoms at all.

A positive pregnancy test is the only method to confirm whether your embryo transfer was successful.


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IVF Pregnancy Test

How Soon Can I Take a Pregnancy Test After IVF?

After completing the embryo transfer phase of their IVF therapy, individuals frequently experience pregnancy anxiety.

You’re in the middle of a journey toward conception that is frequently grueling and emotionally stressful.

However, the response is often seven days following embryo transfer when asking how soon you may test positive for pregnancy after IVF. However, hold off on stocking up at the pharmacy just yet.

It’s understandable that you’re impatient to learn the results of your IVF pregnancy test because IVF and the idea of becoming pregnant are both quite exciting.

You may make sure that you receive reliable pregnancy results as soon as possible according to the physicians’ recommendations rather than your local grocery store.

Are Home Pregnancy Tests Accurate After IVF?

Regular home pregnancy tests that you may get from a pharmacy are not as reliable as an IVF pregnancy test. They frequently display false positives or false negatives, particularly if the test is conducted too soon.

You’ll use hormones and fertility drugs during IVF to support your body’s ability to conceive. Your fertility doctor will provide a significant hormone surge just prior to egg retrieval.

When used together, these fertility medications will boost the level of hCG in your body.

Because it is generated by the body during pregnancy, the human chorionic gonadotropin (or hCG) hormone is sometimes referred to as the pregnancy hormone.

To establish if a person is pregnant, at-home pregnancy tests specifically check for the presence of hCG in the urine.

An at-home pregnancy test that is conducted too soon may provide false positive findings since the test just measures the quantity of hCG that is already present in your body as a result of reproductive treatments.

Similar to this, if your hCG hormones have not yet risen to levels detectable by an at-home pregnancy test, an early pregnancy test may result in a false negative.

How to Test for Pregnancy During IVF

IVF treatment is a costly, physically demanding, and emotionally taxing process. You deserve to know the status of your pregnancy if you’re receiving this kind of reproductive treatment.

The only accurate IVF pregnancy test is one conducted by your fertility clinic.

A beta pregnancy test at your doctor’s office may be conducted around seven days following the day of your embryo transfer.

This blood test detects the level of hCG in your body more precisely than other blood tests. A follow-up blood test is generally arranged for between 2–7 days later if this number suggests a potential pregnancy.

The amount of hCG in your body should significantly rise as the pregnancy develops.

In the third or fourth week following embryo transfer, your doctor will likely arrange an ultrasound to see how far along the pregnancy is.

Due to the ultrasound’s ability to detect the gestational sac and later the baby’s heartbeat, it can certainly confirm your pregnancy.

Even though waiting after embryo transfer may be difficult, this procedure is the only reliable pregnancy test available after IVF.

How Long After IVF Do You Know If You Are Pregnant?

In-clinic testing is often used to confirm pregnancy in IVF patients seven to nine days following embryo transfer.

Some people attempt to keep a careful eye on their symptoms in the hopes that their bodies would “inform” them before that when they are pregnant.

The signs of an IVF pregnancy, however, can be confusing and complicated.

Due to implantation or as a side effect of your medications, light bleeding or implantation spotting might happen. Another concerning sensation that might emerge after implantation is cramping.

Tenderness, bloating, and cramps are symptoms of pelvic pain brought on by fluid retention around your ovaries.

Other symptoms, such as nausea or exhaustion may be from early pregnancy, IVF therapy, or other factors in your life.

Simply put, any symptoms you have might indicate an early pregnancy, but they also might not. Additionally, you can still be pregnant even if you have no early pregnancy symptoms.


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Chances of Twins with IVF

Twin pregnancies are risky for both the mother and the baby, whether or not IVF is utilized, and transferring more than one embryo doubles your chances of producing twins.

Below are some interesting facts about the risks of having twins:

  • Nearly 1 in 10 twin mothers experience elevated blood pressure related to pregnancy. Pregnancy-related high blood pressure affects two times as many women carrying twins as it does those carrying a single child.
  • Almost 3 out of every 5 twin births occur preterm, or at a gestational age of fewer than 37 weeks. Preterm birth is almost six times more frequent in twins than in singleton babies.
  • Compared to singletons, twins are more prone to encounter stillbirth, neonatal mortality, birth abnormalities of the brain, heart, face, limbs, muscles, or digestive system, as well as autism.
  •  Seven in every 1,000 twin babies have cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is more than 4 times as common in twins than in singletons.
  • Almost one in every twenty twin-parenting moms develops gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is 1.5 times more common in twin pregnancies than it is in singleton pregnancies in women.
  • The newborn intensive care unit admits about 1 in 4 twin babies (NICU). More than five times as many twin babies as single babies are admitted to the NICU.

According to research, for some women, the best probability of becoming pregnant without increasing the likelihood of twins is to transfer one fresh embryo followed by one frozen embryo, in the event that a second transfer is necessary.

Sources

Trina Greenfield - Adoption Author

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina does not run an adoption agency. Her website is strictly information-based, so she is able to provide unbiased, credible information that she hopes will help guide those along their journey.