When a woman undergoes IVF, she hopes that she will become pregnant and she
searches for signs that pregnancy has occurred. Unfortunately, it is difficult to
distinguish between true signs of pregnancy and the symptoms that result from the
hormone shots that she has been receiving. These hormones often have side
effects similar or identical to those of pregnancy. There are, however, a few ways to
recognize the true symptoms of pregnancy.
Basal Body Temperature
Purchase and learn to use a basal body thermometer. Many women use their basal
body temperature, or BBT, to calculate the proper time to try to conceive a baby.
Charting BBT can also be useful to a woman preparing to undergo the IVF procedure.
Chart your BBT for several months before the IVF procedure will occur. Several
websites can help you track the numbers. Having a good idea of what your chart looks
like when you are not pregnant will help you to immediately spot the differences when
you are pregnant.
Continue to take your BBT even after your IVF procedure, looking for changes from the
previous months' charts. The day your embryo or embryos implant in your uterus, it is
likely that you will see a temperature dip followed by a continual climb to higher
Taking a Home Pregnancy Test
Purchase the most sensitive home pregnancy test that you can find. Look for one that
says "five days earlier." In addition, purchase a digital test. It will simply say pregnant or
not pregnant. This is much less complicated and emotional than staring at a test trying to
determine whether there is a pink line.
Follow the instructions on the test that you purchased, waiting at least 10 days after the
IVF procedure to use the test. It is always best to test first thing in the morning. Although
many tests can simply be held in the stream of urine, it is best to fill a cup and then hold
the stick in it for 15 to 30 seconds. You will get a more accurate reading this way,
because the body does not secrete as much of the pregnancy hormone during the first
several weeks after an IVF pregnancy as it does in a traditional pregnancy.
Read the test results. In most cases, you will not get a positive pregnancy test at
home before your scheduled test in the doctor's office. This is because the body
takes longer to produce large volumes of the pregnancy hormone after IVF. There
are always exceptions, however, especially in the case of multiple embryos
Other Signs of Pregnancy After IVF
Pay attention to a mild cramping feeling in the uterus. This feeling may be related to
embryos implanting. This is one of the best signs of pregnancy after IVF because the
hormones a woman takes during the IVF process will never cause this cramping feeling.
Other symptoms can be confused for pregnancy symptoms when they are really side
effects of the hormones.
Count the number of times you need to use the bathroom in a day. A pregnant woman
will need to go much more often, regardless of how the baby was conceived.
Ignore sore breasts as a symptom of pregnancy. This symptom is usually explained by
the hormones taken during the IVF process and is not a reliable sign of pregnancy.
Go to the doctor for your official blood test and ultrasound. While it is fun to look for all
the other possible signs of pregnancy--from home tests and charting BBT to changes
in the body--the only sure proof of pregnancy after the IVF procedure is to take a blood
test in the doctor's office and an ultrasound.