What happens (other than indescribable joy, shock and excitement) after you see those two incredible lines on a pregnancy test? We turned to Michalis Kyriakidis, MD, MSc. Gynecologist in Assisted Reproduction, from Embryolab Fertility Clinic for his guidance
When I see those magic lines appear to say that I am pregnant, what do I do next? Does my IVF clinic also test me to make sure my test is correct?
After investing time, emotional and financial resources on your IVF treatment, these magic lines represent the incredible accomplishment of your efforts. However, they remain a first step to a new journey that is just starting. The next thing to do is inform your IVF clinic and your doctor, because you will need to confirm this result. Your clinic will probably ask you for another test to ascertain that your test is correct. This is a blood test to measure b-HCG levels which reflect the course of the pregnancy. B-HCG should be rising during the first few weeks of pregnancy. You will probably be asked to continue with this test for a few days or even weeks in order to monitor the on-going pregnancy.
Do I keep taking progesterone? If yes, for how long? Why is this?
Most women are familiar with the use of progesterone during IVF treatment. Progesterone is sometimes considered the “hormone of pregnancy” due to its beneficial effects. Amongst others, progesterone with prepare the uterus for embryo implantation but also facilitate the acceptance of the pregnancy. It is crucial that women continue their medication even after the positive pregnancy-test and for several weeks. These meds will support the growing embryo until the placenta will mature enough to take over. In this case, you should follow your doctor’s instructions and do not stop until you are advised to do so.
Do you (my IVF clinic) continue to monitor me? If yes, how long for? What are you monitoring?
The first few weeks of pregnancy are important for the development of the growing embryo and set the basis for a healthy pregnancy. Your clinic and your doctor would like to discreetly monitor you during these crucial weeks. These first tests that you need to do is mostly blood-work and they are important because they may reveal something that requires intervention. However, in most cases everything evolves correctly. After these first few weeks, the couple will need to perform an ultrasound scan to confirm the viability and the location of the pregnancy before starting their journey with their midwife and obstetrician.
Is there any higher risks associated with pregnancy if you have had IVF?
A pregnancy achieved through IVF is not necessarily considered high risk. It is generally treated as a “natural conception” pregnancy as long as a woman starts off with a clean medical history and no other serious medical condition. The perception of high-risk IVF pregnancies has risen because of the increased number of multiple pregnancies and their associated risk. However, modern practice has limited the transfer of multiple embryos and therefore the risk of multiple pregnancy. Keep in mind still, that women who conceive through IVF are slightly older than women who conceive naturally. Although age is an independent factor, the risk of complications remains low in healthy women even up to their late 40s.
Huge thanks to the brilliant Michalis Kyriakidis, MD, MSc. Gynecologist in Assisted Reproduction, from Embryolab Fertility Clinic for his guidance
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