During pregnancy, most women usually relate bleeding with miscarriage or other complications. It is one of the biggest worries for women who have undergone IVF.
You might have put a lot of physical, emotional, and financial effort into the IVF treatments. So, it is normal for you to be worried if you experience heavy bleeding after embryo transfer. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the possible causes of bleeding during IVF pregnancy and what we can do about it.
Can You Bleed Heavily After IVF And Still Be Pregnant
Just know that every woman experiences pregnancy differently. While one pregnant woman might have certain symptoms, another might have entirely different ones. Pregnancy signs and symptoms depend on your health and body condition.
Bleeding during pregnancy is one such sign. While some women can have less bleeding and still have a miscarriage, others might bleed heavily and still be pregnant.
Bleeding during IVF pregnancy is normal and happens for several women. However, if the bleeding is heavy and lasts for a long time, it is best to consult your fertility doctor as it might indicate other complications.
Does Bleeding Mean IVF Has Failed?
No, bleeding or spotting after an embryo transfer does not always indicate IVF failure. It is normal for women to have a bit of bleeding after the procedure.
Some women, whether they get pregnant through IVF or normal delivery, experience bleeding during the first trimester of their pregnancy. This bleeding is temporary and disappears gradually on its own.
However, there are some cases where the bleeding might really be due to miscarriage. It is best to consult your fertility doctor if you experience bleeding during pregnancy.
Is Bleeding Common With IVF Pregnancies
Yes, bleeding after embryo transfer is quite common with IVF pregnancies. It is mainly caused due to certain factors, like
- The hormonal changes caused by the hormonal injections,
- The minimally invasive procedures you undergo (egg retrieval & embryo transfer),
- The physical and emotional stress they undergo during the procedure, etc.
According to medical professionals, almost 30–40% of women who get pregnant through IVF experience bleeding at some point of time during their first trimester. You don’t need to worry too much as this bleeding usually stops on its own and does not cause any complications.
What Causes Bleeding In IVF Pregnancy
Apart from the causes we discussed above, there are other factors that can cause bleeding during IVF pregnancies. Let’s discuss these causes in detail.
Implantation bleeding is one of the major causes of bleeding after pregnancy. It happens about a week after embryo transfer and usually indicates a positive pregnancy.
Implantation bleeding happens when the transferred embryo implants itself into the uterine lining. The embryo must burrow deep in the uterine lining. This can put pressure on the lining and cause light bleeding.
Implantation bleeding can last a few days and appear light pinkish or brownish. It can also be accompanied by symptoms like breast tenderness, cramping, back pain, etc.
Sometimes, the placenta might not attach fully to the uterine lining. This can cause blood to accumulate between the uterus and placenta. This condition is called subchorionic hemorrhage.
This blood clot can be monitored through an ultrasound. The blood usually clots and is expelled through the vagina and can cause bleeding. This condition is normal and doesn’t usually result in IVF failure. The bleeding will stop automatically once the blood has been expelled.
Polyps or cervical polyps are asymptomatic growths that develop in the cervix or endometrium. They are quite common in several women. They are benign and don’t cause any harm to women.
However, these polyps can react to sudden hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. This can make them enlarged and result in bleeding if they are traumatized or irritated.
Vaginal or Cervical Irritation
Any activity that can irritate or itching the vagina or cervix can cause bleeding. Some common activities that can cause bleeding are
- Sexual intercourse,
- Using tampons,
- Frequent examinations,
Frequent transvaginal ultrasounds.
There are minimal chances to reduce the frequency of ultrasounds and examinations. You can discuss it with your doctor and see if you can do something about it.
However, you can surely reduce the frequency of sexual intercourse and avoid using tampons when you get bleeding. You can instead use sanitary napkins.
What Happens If You Bleed After An IVF Transfer
Unfortunately, there are no medications or treatments that can stop bleeding during pregnancy. If you feel anxious about it, you can visit your fertility doctor and get it checked.
If it is nothing serious and won’t cause any problems, you just need to stay calm and wait it out. The bleeding will stop by itself after a few days. Meanwhile, ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle and take good care of your body.
However, if the bleeding is due to any complications, it is best to diagnose the cause and treat it as soon as possible.
When To Contact Your IVF Doctor
You might wonder, “How much bleeding is normal after IVF? When should I contact my doctor?”
Some light bleeding or spotting is normal after embryo transfer. It is mostly a sign of implantation bleeding or slight vaginal irritation. However, if you get heavy bleeding or if the bleeding persists for several days, it is time to contact your ivf doctor.
It is not even necessary to wait for several days to see if the bleeding stops. Better stay on the safer side and contact your doctor if the bleeding doesn’t stop after one or two days.
It is natural for you to feel scared if you bleed after an embryo transfer. Most times, the bleeding is caused by other factors and does not cause miscarriage. However, if you are feeling too anxious, you can contact your fertility doctor and take the necessary tests to find out why you bleed.
Yes, there are chances of bleeding if you have sex after an embryo transfer. Your cervix and vagina will be sensitive after undergoing two invasive procedures. Having penetrative sex during this time can aggravate them and cause bleeding.
According to studies, about 40% of women undergoing IVF experienced bleeding during the early stages of their pregnancy. This is mainly caused due to hormonal changes, invasive procedures, and the various examinations they must undergo during the procedure.
You can consider your IVF pregnancy to be safe once you pass the 12-week (first trimester) threshold. The chances of miscarriage after this period is very low, and your IVF success rate will go up to 70–80% after this period.