Finally, after treatment with IVF, pregnancy has blessed your family. Congratulations! Here's what to expect during the early stages of an IVF pregnancy.
Feeling Excited -- But Also Scared
You've most likely been trying to get pregnant for years, and you may have even gone through many cycles of fertility treatments. Finally, you've achieved a pregnancy. While you think that you should be happy, instead, you may be feeling scared.
This is completely normal. Especially if you've lost previous pregnancies through miscarriage, feeling nervous and not too hopeful about the pregnancy is understandable. Don't feel guilty for feeling scared, but do find someone -- whether a friend or a therapist -- to talk to about your feelings. It will help.
Continued Progesterone Support
Your doctor may keep you on progesterone hormone support if pregnancy is confirmed. How long he will continue progesterone treatment will be dependent on your particular situation.
If you're taking progesterone in oil through injections, you may be able to switch to vaginal suppositories or gel. You can ask your doctor about your options.
Continued Blood Tests for Monitoring
Your fertility doctor will also likely continue to check your hormone levels via blood work for at least a few weeks following a positive pregnancy test. There are a few reasons for this:
- to look for rising hCG hormone levels (pregnancy hormones), in order to ensure the pregnancy is healthy and to look out for very high levels (which may indicate a multiple pregnancy)
- to monitor estrogen levels, especially if symptoms of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) are present
- to monitor progesterone levels
Before releasing you to a regular obstetrician, your fertility doctor will most likely order an ultrasound or two during early pregnancy. This is mainly to check for a multiple pregnancy.
Depending on what week the ultrasounds take place, you may even get to see the baby's heartbeat.
If You Have OHSS, It'll Take Time to Feel Better
If you unfortunately developed a case of OHSS during treatment, your symptoms may last several weeks, and may even get worse.
Be sure to stay in contact with your doctor, and let her know of any worsening symptoms right away. OHSS can be dangerous and life threatening if left untreated.
Release to a Regular Obstetrician
Usually an IVF pregnancy is handled by a regular obstetrician (OB), and not a high-risk obstetrician. Your fertility doctor will transfer you over to the regular OB at about the 8-week mark.
You may feel excited to be going to a "normal" doctor - finally! But you may also feel nervous, going from the intense monitoring of your fertility doctor to the more laid back, once-a-month visits of a regular OB/GYN.
If you're feeling extra nervous, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor. If an extra ultrasound would help calm your nerves, go ahead and ask. Your doctor knows how much you've gone through to get pregnant, and feeling nervous is completely normal and understandable.
More about pregnancy after infertility:
- Making a Pregnancy Announcement after Infertility
- I'm Pregnant! Now What?
- How to Have a Healthy Pregnancy After Infertility
- Positive Thoughts on Twins and Multiple Pregnancies
- Pregnancy Success Stories
- Could You Be Pregnant with Twins?
- When to Take a Pregnancy Test
- Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
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Falker, Elizabeth Swire. (2004). The Infertility Survival Handbook. United States of America: Riverhead Books.