One of the most common questions about IVF (in-vitro fertilization) seems to be concerning whether or not there are any early signs of pregnancy in women using this method of conception. In reality the symptoms are not much different than they are in women who have had natural conceptions. The only trouble is that most people who undergo IVF are also being treated with a series of hormone shots and supplements. For this reason it is entirely possible to experience a number of false pregnancy symptoms. This is why it is important that women who have just had IVF take care not to get their hopes up too high until they are able to confirm pregnancy. With that being said some of the following information may be helpful.
Absence of Menstrual Period
Obviously, this is a major red flag that a woman may be pregnant. As with natural conception, an IVF conception will also result in a missed period. However, there is a slight possibility that a woman who has undergone IVF may have one last period two weeks after the procedure. Most of the time this period will not be regular and will probably only last a couple of days. If this happens to you after IVF then there is a good chance you have in fact become pregnant. Unfortunately, this is still not proof positive that you have become pregnant, again, due to the hormonal therapies involved.
Immediate Changes in Breasts
Some women who have an IVF procedure that is successful notice almost immediate breast changes. The breasts may become sore and tender to the touch, the nipples will probably also become quite sensitive and the areola will more than likely become a bit darker. However, perhaps the biggest change (no pun intended) is that there will be a significant increase in breast size. Some women report feeling these symptoms as soon as a week or two after an IVF is performed provided it is successful. In a typical pregnancy these breast changes usually start to occur any time between the 4th and 6th week of pregnancy. It is also important to note that the progesterone hormone therapies used can also lead to breast changes, whether there is a pregnancy or not.
Perhaps one of the most prominent and definitely one of the first signs of pregnancy is fatigue. This is generally caused by a massive surge of progesterone, a pregnancy hormone. As early as 10 days into her pregnancy a woman may begin to feel extremely tired and worn out. She may feel as though she simply cannot get enough sleep no matter how early she goes to bed. She may also find herself craving naps several times a day and lacking the get up and go to do much of anything. As you have probably gathered from the previous statements on the way progesterone therapy can actually mimic symptoms of pregnancy, this symptom can also be present in a woman who is undergoing hormone treatments and is not actually pregnant.
Bleeding From Implantation
Implantation is the process in which the fertilized eggs attach themselves, or burrow themselves into the uterus. In some cases a woman will experience a bit of brownish or pinkish spotting when this occurs. Typically this happens between day 6 and 12 of a natural pregnancy. With IVF patients it may occur about a week after her eggs have been surgically taken from her ovaries. This is actually a very good sign for IVF patients and if this occurs it could definitely mean that conception has occurred.
Most pregnant women go through periods in which they are very moody. One minute they are happy and laughing and the next crying or even displaying angry emotions. A woman who is undergoing IVF treatments can become moody from the treatments but if sudden mood swings should begin shortly after the IVF procedure this is a clear cut sign that pregnancy may have occurred. If you have just had IVF and notice that your moods are unstable then try to relax and take some deep breaths. Mood swings are hard to control but they can lead to a lot of other issues like domestic unrest so take it easy and relax if possible.
Other Normal Pregnancy Symptoms
Aside from the above mentioned symptoms, a woman who has become pregnant as a result of IVF will also experience some or all of the normal symptoms of pregnancy. Morning sickness and strange food cravings are just a couple of the symptoms she may experience. Usually morning sickness begins toward the middle of the first trimester at anywhere from 6 weeks to 8 weeks pregnant and lasts until about the beginning of the second trimester. Just about all women will have stopped morning sickness by the time they are into their third trimester. With IVF patients, morning sickness is a very good sign that the procedure was a success.
The most accurate way to find out if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test at the earliest possible time. All of the speculation in the world cannot replace a positive or negative pregnancy test result. While it is hard, it is important to try and remain patient until such time that you are able to determine whether or not you are pregnant through a urine or blood test performed by your doctor. It is also important that you not lose hope should the pregnancy test come back negative. Many couples have to try several times before they are successful so do not lose hope.