Any woman who has used IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) will have an opinion on this matter. Do you need bed rest after an embryo transfer? And if so, for how long? Under what kind of conditions? Most of these opinions are given to us by our fertility doctor, whose individual ideas range and vary themselves in this ongoing debate. There is still no clear cut winner when it comes to the question of bed rest after IVF transfer.
I just want to state the fact upfront, before I broach both sides of the argument: your freshly planted embryo WILL NOT FALL OUT. The female reproductive system is not designed that way. Once the little speck is in there, no matter how it got there, it stays. This by no means guarantees a baby, but that is one fear you absolutely do not need to worry yourself over. Ok here we go…
Nay-saying doctors don’t believe there is any substantial proof that pregnancy bed rest increases your chance of conception after IVF; not even by 1%. Confined to a bed and feeling useless when you are totally healthy can increase stress and nervousness, thus decreasing the chances of a friendly environment for the embryo to adhere to. These are the type of doctors who like their patients to stay active and believe in a more “energetic” pregnancy. One of the more suspicious mothers I spoke with informed me she believes that bed rest is just a way for the doctors to have an excuse if the embryo doesn’t take. An out, if you will. “Well you must have gone down some stairs or got up to pee too often.” I do want to note, that most clinics that say no bed rest is needed do still recommend taking it easy for the first 24hrs afterward and no heavy lifting, but this is just common sense for any such procedure.
Pro-bed rest doctors believe that even if it’s just a theory, it’s better to try it, if it means a better chance of a surrogate’s conception. Who wouldn’t want to do everything possible to become pregnant? Bed rest after IVF doesn’t do any harm and its common sense to keep the womb horizontal for a better chance of stickiness. It’s been described as a time when a woman can relax and ward off the anxiety that is often the enemy of fertility. These are the type of doctors who believe in a “calm and relaxed” kind of pregnancy. Although, the length of said bed rest in IVF pregnancy varies from as little as one day, to as many as ten.
Speaking from my own personal experience, I don’t have any answers either (sorry). I have used both types of doctors and both types of bed rest. I’ve done three days of strict bed rest at a hotel down the street from the clinic because they wanted to keep my movement very limited. I’ve also been sent home 15 minutes after the procedure and told to take it easy for the rest of the day. Both ways worked. The first did result in a blighted ovum and, unfortunately, a D&C, but my body held on to the embryo like it was supposed to. In that way it was a success. The second stuck fast right away and turned into a healthy fetus. So, I, personally, am at a loss. I’ve spoken to other mothers who have had the broad spectrum of results from working out right after to taking it super easy the whole ‘in between” time. Each had vastly different results in each scenario.
The in-between time, is the time from your transfer to blood test. It’s that exciting/awful unknowing time when you don’t know if in the next week you’ll be crying or laughing. It’s stressful whether you are lying down or not, but I don’t know which is the lesser of two evils. What I do gather is it really depends on what kind of a person you are. Are you the kind that needs to stay busy so as not to think about things you have no control over? Or, are you the kind who finds being calm helps relieve you? These are elements best discussed with your personal physician. They can really give you the most tailor-made advice. Just know your of all options and do what you believe is best for YOU and you can’t go wrong.