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Top Secret IVF Retrieval Tip

The Secret

I'm not sure why this information is so top secret, but most women going through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) aren't told prior to egg retrieval that the anesthesia will most likely cause constipation and that there is something they can do to minimize it, or that drinking fluids that contain electrolytes a few days before and after their retrieval can help to minimize the bloating that occurs when the follicles fill back up with follicular fluid.

The Tip

So here's the top secret retrieval tip that I encourage you to share with anyone you know who is going through IVF, and even with any of the fertility doctors and nurses you work with.  I would love it if the fertility centers would make this a part of their IVF patient calendars:

When you are told to do your trigger shot (hCG, Ovidrel), that's your cue to start eating easily digested foods and drinking fluids that contain electrolytes.

What are easily digested foods?

Clear soups, fruits, salads, vegetables, bran cereals, etc.  Anything the body can easily digest.

I know it can be tempting to go have a celebratory steak because you've finally finished your stimulation meds (who would blame you?), or to have a quick easy pizza or fast-food type of meal because you're so busy, but for these next few days, don't do it! 

In order to retrieve your eggs you will be placed under anesthesia, and the anesthesia will likely cause constipation.  Eating foods that the body can more easily digest and process just a few days prior to your retrieval will minimize your discomfort and help your body get back to normal faster.  After your eggs are retrieved, your follicles will fill back up with follicular fluid.  Drinking fluids that contain electrolytes (like Sobe Lifewater, Propel, Gatorade, etc.) a few days before and after your retrieval will help to minimize this bloating - just watch the sugar content.

Why start this with your trigger shot?

The IVF process is made up of specific events, such as the trigger shot, which occur on a very regular basis regardless of the facility you are with or the protocol used.  Linking this change in diet with your trigger shot helps you remember to do it and gives your body a few days to prepare.  Eating easily digested foods and drinking plenty of fluids that contain electrolytes a few days prior to your retrieval can help minimize the discomfort by giving your body something easier to work with.

Don't forget Acupuncture!

Because of the constipation created by the anesthesia and the bloated feeling that can be experienced from the egg retrieval, some women feel miserable the day after.  Acupuncture can help.  I've had clients call to cancel their post-retrieval appointment because they're feeling so bad.  We do our best to encourage you to keep your appointment, because we know if we can get you in for acupuncture, you will leave feeling better than you did when you came in.

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