Pregnancy after IVF
Once you're pregnant, unless there are specific medical complications already identified, your pregnancy should continue as any normal one would. After the pressure of IVF treatment, it's understandable if you are a little nervous about the risk of miscarriage. But your fears are similar to those of many other women who get pregnant naturally. Try not to worry too much as early miscarriage is almost always beyond the mother's control, but it's worth knowing how to recognise signs of miscarriage so you can get yourself checked out.
In the first three months of your pregnancy, the emphasis is on looking after yourself.
Taking it easy and being good to yourself
It is important in any pregnancy to get yourself into good condition in terms of diet and nutrition. This includes cutting out or reducing your intake of cigarettes, alcohol and caffeine.
Take it easy and pay attention to your body. If you feel tired, have a rest or take a nap. The first few weeks of pregnancy can be exhausting however you conceived.
If you are working and have to travel check with your midwife that she's happy for you to do so.
If you see signs of bleeding in early pregnancy don't panic. Some small bleeding episodes are common so chat to your midwive or GP for reassurance.
Some practitioners believe that sex in pregnancy is not advisable in the early weeks after getting pregnant by IVF. If you are concerned, consult the clinic who treated you, or your midwife.
If you want to be especially cautious, you can wait until your first antenatal scan – seeing your baby's heartbeat and going through this first proper medical check is the best way of putting your mind at rest.
If you do avoid intercourse during this time, do bear in mind that intimacy in pregnancy is important for you and your partner, even without sex.
Most importantly, try to enjoy this special time. You've worked hard to get here!
Possible extra risks
The HFEA who regulate fertility clinics and the fertility treatment process in the UK, do acknowledge there is slightly higher incidence of miscarriage in pregnancies from assisted conception. However, they believe this is mostly down to the fact that a woman who is confirmed pregnant from this method is more likely to be aware of the pregnancy much earlierthan a woman who has not been treated. Miscarriage is most common in early pregnancy and therefore it is possible that other women are experiencing early miscarriage but do not realise.
The main risks may come from the condition which stopped you conceiving naturally in the first place. For example, if you have blocked or damaged fallopian tubes this can cause an ectopic pregnancy. Ultrasound scans can put your mind at rest.
Why you might need more monitoring
If you have a history of miscarriage or stillbirth, then you may be seen more regularly by a specialist during your pregnancy. This is the same for a naturally conceived pregnancy with the same history.
Ifyou are expecting twins or more, you will probably be monitored more closely than in a regular pregnancy.
Ifyou went through assisted conception treatment because you were trying for a baby and are over 35, you may be more closely monitored for your own health (blood pressure, gestational diabetes etc) and for the health of the fetus. There is nothing to unduly worryabout, but regular monitoring is a wise move.
Ifyour general health has been compromised by your treatment in any way(though this is rare) or you have an ongoing condition with whichoriginally led you to take the assisted conception route, you may be required to see a doctor or specialist a little more regularly than a woman going through a regular pregnancy. This is purely a precaution for most women.