In vitro fertilization (IVF) involves the fertilization of the egg outside the woman’s body. Once fertilized by sperm, the resulting embryo is then placed inside the female’s uterus. And once the embryo has implanted or attached to the wall of the uterus, the female is considered pregnant.
Typically, women who undergo IVF treatment are told to take bed rest for a couple of weeks following the transfer of the embryo. Women often take this bed rest recommendation to mean that they must remain still or risk failure of the implantation process. But research suggests that bed rest following embryo transfer is not required for successful implantation of the embryo.
“Immediate ambulation after embryo transfer: a prospective study,” an article published by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, ended with the conclusion that “immediate ambulation (movement) following the ET (embryo transfer) procedure has no adverse influence on the ability to conceive.”
This finding was supported by another study, “Bed rest after embryo transfer,” published several years later. “Many interventions have been used to increase the implantation rate, but bed rest is probably the most commonly prescribed. Since the etiology (cause) of implantation failure in most cases is not related to an excess of activity; however, it is unlikely that bed rest could be an effective strategy to improve pregnancy outcome. There was insufficient evidence to support the routine use of bed rest to improve pregnancy outcome in women undergoing ET (embryo transfer) in IVF cycles.”
Some doctors even note that there may be disadvantages to bed rest. “Inactivity combined with high levels of estrogen can promote blood clot formation as well as a rise in insulin resistance. By contrast, exercise reduces inflammation, lowers stress hormone levels and promotes healthy blood flow,” according to Dr. Robert Greene, MD and Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, CNY Fertility Center, New York, USA.
Keeping stress levels to a minimum, however, is important for successful conception. So keeping the mind busy and continuing with one’s daily routine might actually contribute to the success of the IVF treatment.
What’s certain is that the IVF patient will not benefit from remaining motionless in bed while worrying about whether IVF treatment will be successful. Patients should remain positive and continue with their daily routines.