Is Cramping after Embryo Transfer Normal?

When you cannot conceive a child, you can opt for many assisted reproductive technologies to achieve a successful pregnancy. One of those methods is in vitro fertilization (IVF) that involves fertilizing a woman's egg with her partner's sperm in the lab, and then implanting the embryo in the uterus. You may have to experience some discomfort during the procedure, and a common problem is cramping after embryo transfer. Let's find out what you can do in this regard.

Is It Normal?

During the period between the pregnancy test and the embryo transfer, it is quite common to experience period type cramps. The cramping usually starts 7-10 days after an insemination. Once the embryo implants itself, there may be some discomfort, which resembles period cramps. It is worth mentioning that some women do not experience cramping after embryo transfer and still experience no complications during pregnancy.

Here is a bit more about what other women have to say about their experience with IVF:

"I am currently undergoing an IVF procedure. I had my embryo transferred 4 days ago, and I am experiencing cramps since then. It feels as if I am having menstrual cramps. My doctor has clearly mentioned that it is normal to experience some discomfort after the ER. I hope things get better soon."

"You are going to experience some discomfort when you become pregnant. Clinical or not, there will always be some side effects, like menstrual-like cramps, spotting, etc. It happens when the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterus wall. Therefore, cramping is actually a good thing as it indicates that the embryo has successfully implanted itself and you are now pregnant. It is still important to take a pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy."

Other Symptoms That You May Have

Cramping after embryo transfer is a common issue associated with IVF, but you may also experience some other symptoms when undergoing this procedure.

1. Light Bleeding or Spotting

It is possible to experience spotting immediately after embryo transfer, and it indicates that the embryo has implanted itself to the uterus wall. The uterus has many blood vessels that become irritated due to the implantation of an embryo. Those irritated blood vessels may bleed a little. Implantation bleeding is light and is usually brownish in color.

2. Tender and Swollen Breasts

Just like with normal pregnancy, you are going to notice your breasts become sore and swollen after IVF. This happens because the progesterone levels go up after you conceive. Keep in mind that not every pregnant woman is going to experience the same issue, as it depends on how your body reacts to the elevated levels of progesterone.

3. Bloating

It is probably the most common issue associated with an IVF procedure. This happens because your ovaries are likely to be more stimulated during IVF than they would be on your natural cycle. This stimulation can cause swelling, and these swollen ovaries become more active when the levels of pregnancy hormones go up. All this leads to bloating. Remember that bloating may occur even if the embryo has failed to implant itself.

4. Fatigue

With levels of progesterone going up, it is quite common to feel very tired or fatigued. You are less likely to feel the same during your natural pregnancy because the progesterone levels go up gradually.

5. Nausea

Nausea is among the most common pregnancy symptoms. Still, not every pregnant woman is going to feel nauseous. If you are experiencing nausea, know it is due to a change in your hormonal balance.

6. Frequent Urination

You may have a constant urge to urinate because the levels of hCG hormone going up. You may actually have to take hCG shots right after the embryo transfer because it helps sustain the pregnancy.

Tips to Follow During the Two-Week Wait

While you may have to deal with certain symptoms, such as cramping after embryo transfer, you can certainly take steps to limit the discomfort. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Go Easy Soon After the Transfer

You need to avoid heavy lifting for two weeks, and the time starts immediately after your embryo transfer is over. You should also stay away from rigorous exercise and hot baths.

2. Take Two Weeks Off

It is better to take as much rest as you can at least for the first two weeks after the transfer. Avoid any office work for this time. Engaging in other things can lead to stress and anxiety, which will never help with your IVF procedure. Be sure to stay at home and do nothing!

3. Take Your Medication as Prescribed

You should never overlook the importance of taking your medication, especially during the first two weeks. You need to understand that the medicines you are taking help keep your embryo alive and create a suitable environment in the uterus to achieve pregnancy.

4. Pay Attention to Your Diet

You need to get plenty of rest, but it is equally important to pay attention to your diet. Do not eat unhealthy food while lying in your bed, watching Netflix. Be sure to resist the temptation to have that chocolate bar, as the caffeine can is not something you should have at this time. Go for a balanced mix of fruit, veggies, carbs, pulses, and protein to improve your pregnancy chances.

5. Avoid Sex

It is important that you avoid all types of sexual activities immediately after an IVF cycle. In fact, you should not have a vaginal intercourse, especially for the first two weeks. It is natural to feel sexy at this time, thanks to the changing hormones, but you should stay away from sex. Masturbation should also be avoided. 

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