Self-care following an egg retrieval procedure or embryo transfer needs to include both your mind and your body. Following the instructions provided by your IVF team is just as important as nurturing yourself mentally and emotionally. Keep reading to learn how to address both aspects of your recovery.
After your egg retrieval procedure, you will most likely stay at the clinic for about 45 minutes. When your nurse feels your condition is stable, you will be discharged. For this procedure, you will need someone to drive you home. You may experience some tenderness in your pelvic area and feel tired or sleepy for up to 24 hours. During this time, it is strongly advised not to drive a car or operate any heavy machinery and not to make any crucial decisions. You can resume eating and drinking as usual; however, it is best to avoid alcoholic beverages.
The embryo transfer procedure is similar to a pap smear, a short and relatively painless process. A few minutes after the procedure you will be able to get dressed and be discharged. You can drive yourself home unless told otherwise by your nurse. For the next couple of days, refrain from engaging in any strenuous physical activity or sexual activity, and do not use tampons, or take any medications without the approval of your IVF team.
Your nurse will provide more detailed instructions about your physical care and what to expect following each procedure.
Mental and Emotional Aspect:
You may feel some excitement mixed with anxiety and nervousness following your egg retrieval or embryo transfer procedure as you are waiting and hoping for good news. Your stress may be high, and troublesome thoughts could be racing through your mind. During this time, it is important to think positively and to practice calm and relaxation techniques. The following are some tools to help you cope with this difficult and stressful time:
Deep abdominal breathing or focused breathing:
When you are stressed, you tend to take in shallow breaths. Taking in shallow breaths does not allow for complete oxygen exchange (incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide), which then increases your stress and anxiety. Taking deep breaths (breathing into our abdomen) allows for complete oxygen exchange, and lets more oxygen reach the brain and other vital organs. This, in turn, reduces your stress and anxiety, slows your heartbeat, and lowers or stabilizes your blood pressure.
Begin by sitting in a comfortable position. Breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully. Now breathe out slowly through your mouth (or your nose, if that feels more natural). Repeat this a few times.
The practice of mindfulness is to focus on the here and now, to be present. To be appreciative of all the things you have instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness can help you remember that even though you have a terrible stressor in your life, it is not the only thing. You can practice mindfulness as a form of relaxation or while you are engaged in an activity.
As relaxation: begin by taking deep abdominal breaths. Focus your mind on the sounds you are hearing, the smells, and the sights around you. Take them all in, and see their beauty. Recount all the positive things you have in your life, all that is good and bring you joy.
As an activity: no matter what activity you are engaged in, whether it be washing the dishes or going for a walk, be fully engaged in it. Focus all your senses on what you are doing. Pay close attention to the sounds, the smells, the tastes. Focusing your mind on the moment will prevent your mind from dwelling on worrisome thoughts.
Meditation can relax and calm your body and mind. It can help you overcome your stress, find your inner peace and balance, and transform negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Sit in a quiet room and focus on your breathing. Turn your attention inward, and become aware of the sensation of your breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils. As you are focusing on your breathing, you stop the distractions and clear your mind. The next element is to introduce a calming word, phrase or a prayer. Maintain an accepting and non-judgmental attitude towards any thoughts or feelings you experience while meditating.
Connecting with others and sharing your thoughts and feelings in a supportive and loving environment is one of the most effective coping strategies for egg retrieval or embryo transfer. Share your feelings with your loved ones. Join a support group, or talk to a professional. The counselors at Aspire fertility are always here to help you and provide you with the support and encouragement you need.
If you have more specific questions about egg retrieval or embryo transfer, you can schedule an appointment at any of the Aspire Fertility Clinics or call the:
- Houston Clinic at (713) 425-3003
- Dallas Clinic at (214) 414-3806
- Atlanta Clinic at (678) 274-6760