Dr. Edward Ramirez is the medical director of Monterey Bay IVF, a women's fertility & gynecology center located in Monterey, California. He hopes to provide those who read his infertility blog with insights into the latest advances in women's health & infertility issues. He respectfully shares his knowledge as a specialist with women and men from all over the world. Visit his center at www.montereybayivf.com
Post IVF Transfer Pain: Implantation Pain or Ectopic?
My wife says that she was experiencing sharp pain yesterday (10 days after FET) on the area near right side of her stomach. She experienced the pain only yesterday and that was during a 3 mile walk. Today she says she feels some pressure near the right ovaries.
I'm concerned. Could you please let me know your suggestions? Thank you.
Thank you for your question. This could be normal, but the main concern would be an implantation that occurs in the tubes called an ectopic pregnancy. I wouldn't jump to this conclusion but it is a possibility. This could also be what we typically call "implantation" pain. Please see my overview of what happens after the IVF transfer including pain and bleeding here: "After Your IVF Procedure".
Let me go into more detail regarding both possibilities.
All patients with infertility are at increased risk for an ectopic, even with IVF. The incidence is low but it occurs. At 10 days post transfer I usually have done my pregnancy test. This can give a better idea of how the pregnancy is doing and whether or not an ultrasound will show anything. Generally, the BHCG level has to be over 3000 to see a pregnancy in the uterus and if it is not there with that level, then an ectopic pregnancy as to be assumed. At only 10 days post transfer, it is unlikely to be an ectopic, however. These usually do not become symptomatic until 6-8 weeks of the pregnancy. At this point, it is probably not anything serious.
Pregnancy can also induce other kinds of pains and discomforts. We call them implantation pain or growing pain. Sometimes women tell us that they "feel" a sharp pain within a week or two post transfer. I cannot discount that sometimes the women who complain of this pain (and I have IUI patients who tell me the same) do have a positive pregnancy test. Another possibility on the right side, of course, would be appendicitis. You can still get other illnesses despite trying for pregnancy. However, appendicitis, is progressive and does not come and go. Once the pain started it would progressively get worst. That doesn't fit your wife's scenario. Without further evaluation it is hard to know what is going on. You should probably bring this up with your doctor.
As a side note, if your wife is actively trying to get pregnant using IVF or FET, then I would not recommend a 3 mile walk right now. She should limit her activity to more sedate activities. A short normal walk would be fine, but power walks are not recommended as are heavy exercises like aerobics, karate, gymnastics, running, etc.
Good luck with your cycle and I hope that this will be a success!
Edward J. Ramirez, M.D.
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF program http://www.montereybayivf.com/
Monterey, California, U.S.A.