Early signs of an IVF pregnancy

Written by barbara diggs
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The early signs of an in-vitro fertilisation pregnancy are exactly the same as the signs of a naturally-conceived pregnancy. However, a woman having undergone IVF must be more cautious about reading too much into unconfirmed symptoms. In most cases, the IVF patient uses hormone injections and supplements to help sustain a pregnancy should it occur. While these supplemental hormones are absolutely necessary, they may produce some symptoms of pregnancy when conception has not actually occurred. Conversely, a woman may experience few or no pregnancy symptoms at all even though she is pregnant.

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Missed Menstrual Period

Even when undergoing an IVF cycle, a woman's period should arrive approximately 14 days after the embryos are transferred to her uterus. Should more than 14 days elapse without a period, the woman may be pregnant. Occasionally, a woman may also have a substantially lighter or shorter period than normal, this may be an early sign of pregnancy as well.

Tender/Swollen Breasts

When newly pregnant, an increase in oestrogen and progesterone can cause breasts to become swollen or extremely tender to the touch---even putting on a bra or rolling over in bed can be uncomfortable. Some women also notice that their nipples are sore or tingly, or that their areolas have darkened. Women may notice these changes in their breasts even before they miss their periods. Women undergoing IVF may notice some breast tenderness when they begin using the hormone progesterone, whether or not they are pregnant.

Fatigue

One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is fatigue, which is caused by a surge in the hormone progesterone. A woman only a few weeks pregnant may suddenly find herself going to be much earlier than usual, feeling extremely tired after doing a simple activity, or wanting to take a nap in the middle of the day. As IVF patients usually take progesterone as a supplement after the embryos are transferred to the uterus, they may feel the effects of the progesterone without actually being pregnant.

Implantation Bleeding

Sometimes when the fertilised egg implants itself into the uterus, a woman may experience slight amount of pink or brown bleeding and spotting. This is known as "implantation bleeding." Typically, this occurs between six and 12 days after ovulation. In the case of an IVF patient, implantation bleeding might occur a week or so after the eggs are surgically retrieved from the ovaries.

Nausea

Nausea is one of the most renowned signs of pregnancy and is caused by surges and changes in the woman's hormone levels. For some women nausea can begin as early as a week conception. In the case of the IVF patient, it may occur within a few days of the fertilised eggs being transferred back to the uterus. Not all women become nauseated, however. Some women may get classic "morning sickness" and feel ill or queasy first thing in the morning. Others become nauseous later in the day, or when they haven't eaten (or when they have). Still other women are nauseated all day long, from morning until night.

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