Take a quick stroll in any Barnes & Noble, or peruse Amazon’s fertility section and you’ll see there is a big disparity between the amount of books about pregnancy versus the books on infertility treatments. While more amazing publications are popping up on what to expect while you’re in the middle of fertility treatments, there is still a lot to be desired. Online forums can be a good place to chat with others who are experiencing similar symptoms or who have blazed the trail before you, however, most content is not medically approved and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. We’ve included a list of the top 10 things you may experience during in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments at our Connecticut fertility center:
IVF Top 10 to Expect
1. Body changes – It’s not uncommon for women to gain a little weight during IVF treatments. Hormone injections can affect your weight and also your hunger levels (read # 4). Additionally, depending on how many eggs develop or if you experience any mild ovarian hyperstimulation, you will notice that your stomach will feel bloated and that your jeans feel snug. This is normal and will subside when you start your next period, or within a few weeks of your pregnancy. If you gain weight rapidly (for instance 10 pounds in 2-3 days) call our office immediately.
2. Feeling emotional – If additional hormones in your body aren’t enough to make you feel emotional, the experience of a first IVF treatment can feel overwhelming for some patients. Expect to feel emotional. It’s allowed.
3. Feeling distracted – We’ve heard some women say that they feel like they have “pregnancy brain” while doing IVF. It’s not surprising considering many patients juggle careers and other obligations, in addition to treatments and thinking about treatment results. Being distracted or forgetful is fairly common.
4. Increased appetite– This doesn’t happen to everyone, but some patients may experience an increase in hunger. While some of the medications may increase your hunger, more often an increased desire to eat is more emotionally driven. Just remember to eat healthily.
5. Shots – Unless you are doing natural cycle in vitro fertilization (NC-IVF) most likely you will be required to inject follicle stimulating and ovulation regulating hormones each day via small needles. The amount of medication and frequency of shots is different for each patient. Also, during visits you may have your blood drawn to get a clear analysis of your hormone levels. Most patients are surprised at how painless the daily shots actually are.
6. Oral medications – In addition to shots, you may have to take an oral medication. Dr. Levi will adjust your dosages after appointments and may recommend additional medications as needed.
7. Gastrointestinal changes – Constipation or loose stools are all common complaints of people who are in the process of IVF. Make sure to drink plenty of water and to eat foods that are high in fiber to combat digestive issues.
8. Some waiting – We do our best at Park Avenue Fertility to keep your in-office wait to a minimum, however occasionally there will be some waiting, especially for blood test results. We always make sure to return calls and share your results with you as quickly as possible.
9. Feelings of stress or frustration – Fertility treatments can be stressful for some patients and can be frustrating if you are physically feeling the effects of your medications. Utilizing stress relieving practices like light yoga, meditation, or acupuncture can help alleviate anxieties.
10. Surprises – Fertility treatments are different for each patient and there really is no “average” experience. Don’t be surprised if you find you’re hungrier during treatments. Don’t be surprised if you need more sleep each night. And don’t be surprised if you find that this process is considerably easier than you expected. As they say, “expect the unexpected.”
Fertility treatments have provided an amazing opportunity for patients who have struggled with infertility to experience pregnancy. Additionally, the process of follicle stimulation involved in IVF is also the same procedure used during egg donation. To learn more about how IVF works, scan our website for more in-depth information or call our office at 855-901-BABY to set up an appointment at one of our Norwalk, Fairfield, or Trumbull locations with renowned Connecticut fertility specialist Dr. Levi.