I am surrogate currently going through my second round of IVF, and preparing for another upcoming embryo transfer. With my first embryo transfer, I ended up having a “chemical pregnancy”, which meant I had some faint positive hCG results but the pregnancy didn’t stick and it eventually went away.
I speak from experience when I say that the ten days following your embryo transfer will be some of the longest of your life. You’re constantly wondering if it worked, hoping and maybe even taking some early pregnancy tests. By the end of ten days post embryo transfer, you will get bloodwork done to tell you if you’re pregnant or not.
During this time of the IVF cycle, it’s important to really prioritize self-care and focus on your physical and mental wellness. It’s hard to articulate the mental toll this waiting period can have on you, but it’s real and needs to be acknowledged.
I started writing this blog post with the intention of giving myself a game plan for my next embryo transfer, which is coming up in about 2 weeks. I wanted to give myself some kind of “self-care task” for every day after transfer. The point is to keep my mind focused on positive things, and also plan some happy distractions. Mindset is everything when it comes to IVF.
Below I’ve made a list of daily “happy tasks” for each day after transfer. They are simple, easy to do and healthy for a woman who *hopefully* just got pregnant.
10 Fun Things to To After IVF Embryo Transfer
Day 1 – Movie Marathon and Take Out Meals
My IVF clinic recommends bedrest the day after embryo transfer. They literally wrote in the email that they want me to be a “couch potato” all day. This is the perfect occasion to binge watch your TV shows, old favorite movies, and discover some new movies on streaming.
Day 2 – Journal and/or Read a Book
When we pick up a book or put pen to paper in a journal, we engage our minds in a different way, which serves as a great distraction during this anxious waiting period. Reading takes us on journeys to different worlds, introducing us to new characters and experiences, while journaling enables us to unload our thoughts and emotions onto the page, offering a sense of catharsis and self-reflection. Both activities encourage mindfulness and self-awareness, helping us to unwind, process our feelings, and find solace in the written word.
Day 3 – Skincare Routine with Mask and Moisturizing
Most of us surrogates travel for embryo transfer, and flying can wreak havoc on our skin (especially when you consider all the hormones happening at this time). Restoring the moisture and condition of your skin is a simple way to practice self-care at home. I suggest splurging on an herbal and aromatherapy face mask, or a body scrub and refreshes and renews the skin.
Taking the time to cleanse, moisturize, and protect our skin is a ritual of self-respect, reminding us to prioritize our physical and mental health. This routine not only enhances our skin’s health but also provides a moment of mindfulness and self-indulgence during this crucial time.
Day 4 – Cook a Favorite Comfort Food Recipe
Cooking a favorite comfort food recipe can be a therapeutic and relaxing experience. It’s like a warm embrace for the soul, offering not just nourishment for the body but also relief for the mind. The process of selecting ingredients, measuring, chopping, and stirring engages our senses and shifts our focus away from the stresses of IVF.
The familiar aromas in the kitchen evoke memories and create a sense of comfort and security. As we follow the recipe, we become fully immersed in the present moment, leaving behind worries and anxieties. And when that comforting dish is finally ready, the first bite can feel like a reward for the soul.
Day 5 – Take a Leisurely Nature Walk
As we step into the natural world, our senses come alive, which serve as a healthy distraction for IVF anxieties. The gentle rustle of leaves, the melodious chirping of birds, and the earthy scent of the outdoors all come together to soothe the soul. With each step, we leave behind the daily stresses and worries, replacing them with a profound connection to our journey.
Day 6 – Home Organization Project
I am a big fan of The Home Edit organization show, and I find much comfort in cleaning up my house. Home organization projects can serve as a healthy and productive distraction from IVF anxiety. When we embark on the journey of decluttering and tidying up our living spaces, we are not only physically reordering our surroundings but also offering our minds a sense of order and control. The act of organizing requires focus and attention, redirecting our thoughts away from anxious thoughts and worries.
Day 7 – Gentle Yoga, Stretching and Candles
The combination of gentle yoga, stretching, and the soft glow of candles creates a serene and rejuvenating atmosphere for both the body and the soul. When we roll out our yoga mat and begin our practice, the deliberate movements and stretches help release tension from our muscles while promoting flexibility and balance. The soft ambiance created by candles enhances the overall relaxation experience, making it easier to let go of stress and find a deeper connection. I personally love artisan made aromatherapy fertility candles.
Day 8 – Retail Therapy Shopping
Retail therapy shopping is a time-honored tradition for us ladies to lift our spirits and find a momentary escape from life’s challenges. Shopping for things we love provides instant gratification and that coveted dose of dopamine, which can help us get through these long days of waiting to find out if we’re pregnant. Spoil yourself guilt-free during this challenging time.
Day 9 – Make a Mocktail
Stay hydrated in style, and possibly prepare for an alcohol-free 9 months ahead. Making mocktails is a delightful and creative process that allows you to craft delicious and refreshing non-alcoholic beverages that are perfect for any day of the week. To start, gather a variety of fresh fruits, juices, and soda or sparkling water as your base ingredients. Choose complementary flavors to create a balanced and flavorful mocktail. Muddle or blend your chosen fruits to release their natural juices and flavors. Then, add ice to a shaker or glass, pour in the fruit mixture, and top it off with your selected juice or soda. Garnish your mocktail with fresh herbs, citrus slices, or colorful fruit skewers for a visually appealing presentation.
Day 10 – Plan a Low-key Family Activity
You’re in the home stretch before you get the fertility clinic lab results! Planning a low-key family activity is an ideal way to spend quality time together and create lasting memories without the stress or expense of elaborate outings. This is a good time to connect with loved ones and get support, whether the news delivered is good or bad.
Whether it’s a movie night at home, a picnic in the park, a board game marathon, or a leisurely hike, choose an activity that suits the collective mood and aligns with how your heart feels in this moment.
Best Advice for After an Embryo Transfer
Staying positive is always vital in the IVF process, and knowing your caring for your body will boost your confidence.
Rest and Relax
After the procedure, it’s essential to rest and take it easy for the remainder of the day. Find your zen vibe and just chill.
Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, but avoid excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption.
Follow Medication Instructions
If your doctor has prescribed medications such as progesterone or other hormone supplements, make sure to take them as directed.
Stress can negatively impact fertility, so try to reduce stress levels through relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. During this time, actively avoid places and situations that can elevate your stress levels.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eat a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients that support pregnancy, such as folic acid, iron, and calcium. Avoid raw or undercooked foods and limit your caffeine intake.
Stay Connected with Your Fertility Clinic
Stay in contact with your fertility clinic and follow up with any appointments, blood tests, or ultrasounds as recommended by your doctor.
Maintaining a positive outlook and emotional support can be crucial during this time. Seek support from friends, family, or support groups if needed.
Things to Avoid After Embryo Transfer
Above I have a list of safe and recommended activities to do after embryo transfer, but there are also activities you should. In order to achieve a successful pregnancy after an IVF embryo transfer, you definitely don’t want to do anything that could harm the outcome and end with a failed transfer. Below I have listed some of the most common things to stay away from after embryo transfer.
Remember that every individual’s experience with IVF is unique, and your doctor will provide specific guidance tailored to your situation. It’s essential to follow their instructions and communicate any concerns or questions you may have during this process.
Avoid Heavy Lifting
Refrain from lifting heavy objects or engaging in strenuous exercise for at least a week after the transfer. Always check with your doctor first before you make any plans to hit the gym after an IVF procedure.
Avoid Hot Baths or Saunas
Excessive heat can be detrimental to early pregnancy, so avoid hot baths, saunas, and hot tubs.
Monitor for Symptoms
Pay attention to any unusual symptoms, such as heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain, or a high fever, and contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any concerning issues.