In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) pregnancy is the only option for those who have no opportunity to have a natural pregnancy. In this article, we’re exploring the IVF pregnancy vs natural pregnancy step by step to see what the IVF pregnancy patients should expect from their treatment before, during, and after the pregnancy.
After a succession of IVF, patients might think of what they expect from an IVF pregnancy. In fact, some women worry that this difference will show up during the pregnancy.
For most women, there will be nothing to worry about. after the first few weeks, an IVF pregnancy is the same as a “natural” pregnancy in every aspect. No matter how the baby is conceived, every woman and every pregnancy is spectacular and individual. From this point of view, let’s take a look at how an “average” IVF pregnancy proceeds.
Of course, there might be some issues that concerned patients about IVF pregnancy, but when we take a closer look over the details, we see not only there is no reason to be concerned for patients about IVF, but there are also some benefits of IVF pregnancy at some points.
One of the great facts that distinguish the IVF pregnancy is choosing the best quality egg or sperm and the patients may have the best quality embryo at the end, which they’re not going to experience in a natural pregnancy.
With IVF pregnancy, they’re also able to determine the embryo’s gender during the transfer and before preimplantation. In fact, there is a program called preimplantation gender diagnosis (PGD) that helps diagnose genetic disorders in IVF pregnancy. During this program, gender determination will also occur by counting the chromosomes.
The first two weeks
In the first days and weeks after embryo transfer and when implantation successfully happened, the biggest difference between a “natural” pregnancy and an IVF pregnancy is the level of awareness. Most women who become pregnant on their own don’t know that they are pregnant until a month or more into the pregnancy. For an IVF pregnancy patient, that awareness begins the moment after the embryo is transferred and the implantation is successfully done. In practical terms, this can mean that the patients may be dealing with a higher level of anxiety and a greater sensitivity to early pregnancy symptoms than many women experience at this stage.
Early pregnancy or premenstrual issues
One of the issues that patients are always concerned about is that the fertility medications they have taken during the ovarian stimulation phase of IVF can mimic the symptoms of early pregnancy. Even worse, many premenstrual issues can do the same. The period between transfer and the patients’ official pregnancy test is a particularly difficult time for them.
Patients may feel nauseated, tired, bloated, and moody without any proof of being pregnant. They may miss their period or they may have one last light period or spotting. When the embryo implants in the uterus, some amount of cramping and mild bleeding can also occur. Changes in the size of breasts or heaviness and soreness issues are common experiences in many early pregnancies, but there will be no certain answer yet.
One of the most highly unreliable tests taken during this stage is home pregnancy tests, because the body may still have elevated levels of hormones as a result of fertility medications. Waiting for the official test at the clinic is the only reliable way to confirm the pregnancy 100%.
Symptoms of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
One important point at this time is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome symptoms (OHSS). Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome symptoms can resemble the symptoms of early pregnancy, so if the patients were facing severe cramping, bloating, or nausea, they should immediately visit the doctor, rather than assuming that this is a natural effect of pregnancy. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome symptoms could be a side effect of IVF pregnancy and can affect women who are pregnant, so if the patients suspect OHSS, they should get medical advice as soon as possible.
Most cases are light and resolve themselves in a few weeks, but in some exceptions, there will be rare and more serious complications.
. If the patients are pregnant with OHSS, their symptoms may last up to 4 weeks after a positive pregnancy test. Their doctor will monitor them carefully to help them manage their symptoms during this time, but there are no known long-term risks to their baby associated with OHSS.
Taking care of body and mind
For most IVF pregnancy patients, one of the quite stressful things is constantly evaluating and guessing at symptoms; but it’s difficult to avoid. It’s in their best interest to step up their self-care at this point. They must give themselves a break and be gentle with themselves physically and emotionally. They have to Make sure they’re getting enough sleep and quality nutrition and avoid high-intensity activity: low-impact exercise such as gentle walks can help them manage stress, but anything more strenuous should be suspended.
They’re being advised to Reach out to their trusted support network, whether that’s their partner, a close friend or family member, a professional counselor, or some combination of the above. If they have specific medical questions or concerns, they shouldn’t hesitate to ask their fertility team. The fertility team has been through this many times before and may be able to help the patients find some peace of mind.
2 to 10 weeks
At this period of the pregnancy, the patients will remain under the care of their fertility clinic. The only important difference at this time is that the IVF pregnancy patients will be monitored more intensively than a patient who conceived naturally. They may have appointments and ultrasounds every 1 or 2 weeks. They may notice typical pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, cravings, and increased urination.
After 10 weeks
After about 10 weeks, if everything goes well, the patients will be released into the care of a “natural” obstetrician. From that day on, the IVF pregnancy at that point is indistinguishable from a “natural” pregnancy. Well, congratulations! However, it may not be easy to stop worrying until the baby is safely in the mother’s arms after delivery, by 12 weeks most patients feel safe sharing the news of their pregnancy with their family and wider social circle.
After a lot of severities of infertility and treatment, try to get some rest and relax as much as possible. Keep taking care of yourself and the baby, and enjoy all the preparation and planning for parenthood that is such a beautiful and special part of pregnancy.