Sunday, March 09, 2014

What to expect during an IVF pregnancy?

The first trimester of any pregnancy – whether normal or by IVF - is always an emotional roller coaster ride. A woman who is pregnant for the first time is bound to be filled with anxiety and excitement about her pregnancy. A positive pregnancy test is always a memorable moment in a woman’s life. In the case of a normal pregnancy, a woman does a urine pregnancy test after missing her period, and she then visits her OB-GYN. The situation is quite different for a woman who has undergone IVF treatment because she has been through the dreaded 2ww after the transfer. The HCG test is a test of patience and fortitude –  and this can be a nerve-wracking wait !

One would expect that a positive pregnancy test result will result in euphoria, which it does, but this is often short-lived, because of the games which your mind will play with you. Is the urine test really reliable ? Is there really a second line or am I just imagining it ? When you do the blood test, you heave a sigh of relief when it is positive, but then the games start one again !

Is the HCG level normal ? Or is it too low ? Could it be an ectopic ? Is it too high ? Could I have twins ? Is it doubling properly ? There's a lot of confusion with dating the pregnancy as well, because women will use the date of embryo transfer to start counting, while doctors will use her menstrual age. This leads to even more confusion, and may women find it hard to make sense of their HCG levels.

You may or may not experience the usual pregnancy symptoms , such as morning sickness, fatigue, breast tenderness and  increased frequency of urination.  After an IVF pregnancy , women obsess over every single symptom . You worry if you have morning sickness – and you worry even more when you do not have it !  You are extra cautious about your diet and physical activity - and your doctor may advise strict bed rest, because this is a "precious pregnancy" !

 The fact is that any pregnancy, be it normal or assisted, follows its own natural biological course. Just because the embryo has spent 3 days in the IVF lab does not change anything !

It is important for the health of the baby that you remain active during your pregnancy. Excessive bed rest is bad for both mother and baby ! When you are pregnant after IVF ,  you should focus your energies on enjoying your longed-for pregnancy , rather than worrying about every minor twinge and ache !

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