Am I pregnant? Did it work? Are there any positive signs after embryo transfer that may indicate whether my IVF journey was successful? I am here to tell you that there are!
Anyone that has gone through IVF knows how difficult waiting can be. We’ve waited for ages! We’ve been through the torturous two week wait more times than we can count, we’ve waited to finally get a big fat positive, we’ve waited to meet with a fertility specialist, we’ve waited for insurance approval, we’ve waited for our cycles to start so we can begin our treatment plan, and we’ve waited for the embryo transfer.
Now that you’ve done all of this waiting, you’ve got to wait some more. Trying to conceive is exhausting.
Conquer the Mind Games
First thing’s first…
I will put this bluntly, though I mean it out of the goodness of my heart: Get. Out. Of. Your. Head.
I know, easier said than done, and I’d be lying if I told you that my mind was perfectly at ease throughout my waiting periods. It wasn’t. I know how hard the waiting can be after an embryo transfer. All you want to do is take a pregnancy test even though you promised yourself you’d wait for your beta test. Every twinge and slight cramp in your belly feels like hope. You’re totally fatigued one day – is that a sign of pregnancy, or did I just have a bad night? Headache – pregnant, or is my brain overworking? Nauseous – morning sickness, or did I eat something funny?
If you’ve made it this far in your IVF journey, you are no stranger to phantom symptoms and symptom spotting. The best thing you can do at this stage is be as patient as you can.
That said, you may experience some positive signs after an embryo transfer that are because you are pregnant. Take them in stride, and allow yourself a little bit of hope!
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Positive Signs After Embryo Transfer
The good news is that technically speaking, depending on the age of your embryo at transfer (3-day or 5-day), your wait will be cut a little shorter than the standard 14 days. In fact, after my first embryo transfer, I got my first positive test at 5 DPT, with each test showing darker lines with each day past my transfer. The beta test was really just confirmation for me at that point (because I definitely couldn’t wait that long).
There are several early signs of pregnancy that you may experience during the two week wait. Following are some symptoms you may experience.
Just keep in mind that if you feel any of these symptoms, you may be pregnant… or you may not be. Or, you may not experience any of them at all and still be pregnant! The truth of the matter is that a positive pregnancy test is the only true sign of a successful embryo transfer.
1. Light spotting or bleeding
When implantation occurs, about one week after your embryo transfer, you may experience some light spotting or bleeding. This is known as implantation spotting/bleeding, and is not unlike spotting experienced at the start of menstruation. Implantation is when the embryo has implanted into the lining of your uterus.
Spotting and bleeding post-embryo transfer can be hella concerning, as most worry that it could be a sign that their period is on the horizon. Unfortunately, it also sometimes happen as a result of hormone medications like progesterone, which you will continue to take during the time between your embryo transfer and your beta test. However, this may very well be an indication of pregnancy.
2. Abdominal cramping
Cramping is one of those symptoms that can be both exciting and daunting, because cramping in the early stages of pregnancy are very much like those you experience when you are menstruating. If you have cramping after a successful embryo transfer, it is also a result of implantation and shouldn’t last very long.
Cramping can also be a result of the fertility hormones you have been taking (and will continue to take if implantation was successful), or from the procedure itself.
3. Breast swelling or tenderness
Sore breasts are one of the first signs of pregnancy that women look for when they’re in the TWW. It’s commonly known and can often be one of those dreaded phantom symptoms. However, despite being phantom, it really is something that women experience when they conceive.
Keep in mind that breast tenderness should not be taken as a definitive sign that you are pregnant. This can often be mistaken as a pregnancy sign when it is sometimes caused by the increased levels of progesterone.
9 Tips for Easier PIO Shots in IVF
Get comfortable with being tired!
Fatigue and the feeling of being overly tired are common early signs of pregnancy, and will likely continue through the first trimester and possibly even throughout the entire pregnancy. If you are absolutely dragging, this could be a positive sign after embryo transfer.
I personally experienced quite a bit of fatigue in my earliest days of pregnancy. In fact, it was the surest sign I had.
5. Increased basal body temperature
Your basal body temperature is your body’s lowest temperature. You can get this reading when you are fully at rest, so it is recommended that you take it first thing in the morning with a basal thermometer. You may already be familiar with taking your BBT if you used it to track your ovulation when you were trying to conceive.
If your embryo implants, your BBT will increase by one degree and stay elevated throughout your pregnancy. If it drops, you most likely are not pregnant.
6. (Increased) Vaginal Discharge
Due to the hormonal rollercoaster your body has been on, you are likely to see an increase in vaginal discharge if your embryo transfer was successful. Great, more discharge, right? You are certainly very familiar with this, as many who go through IVF get increased discharge during the stimming process.
But, if you experience discharge after your transfer that is white and odorless, it’s a positive pregnancy sign.
While nausea or morning sickness is one of the quintessential signs of pregnancy, it most commonly starts long after you will already know you are pregnant, by month two. However, select individuals do get queasy within the two week wait.
Nausea in pregnancy is often a result of increased human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone levels. Since you have literally been injecting yourself with hCG, nausea can result.
Are you feeling bloated or a noticeable heaviness in your pelvis? This can often be one of the first signs of pregnancy. The increased progesterone hormone slows down digestion, which may result in trapped gas and thus bloating.
You may also feel some constipation, which you may have already experienced after your egg retrieval!
9. Missed Period
Duh! If you period is kept at bay, you could be pregnant! A missed period after an embryo transfer is highly indicative of a pregnancy.
No Symptoms At All
If you are among the MANY women who experience no early pregnancy symptoms, please do not worry. This does not mean that your embryo transfer was not successful. As mentioned throughout this post, many of the “symptoms” that women experience in early pregnancy are actually side effects of the mix of hormones they have been taking throughout the IVF process, like progesterone and estrogen.
It is also a good thing to note that these early signs of pregnancy are relevant to any woman trying to conceive, whether doing so naturally or through fertility treatment.
If you do end up with a successful embryo transfer, first I would like to say congratulations. That journey was long and hard! And you are now one step closer to meeting your little love.
Here are some tips and useful information for pregnancy that I hope will be helpful:
8 First Trimester Must-Haves
10 Second Trimester Must-Haves
Morning Sickness Remedies That Actually Work
Dealing with Pregnancy Congestion