Things to Avoid after an IUI Procedure
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment procedure that is used to enhance the chances of pregnancy in couples struggling with infertility. It involves the introduction of specially prepared sperm directly into the woman’s uterus, bypassing the cervix and increasing the likelihood of fertilization. This procedure is considered less invasive and more affordable than in vitro fertilization (IVF), making IUI a popular choice in Thailand for couples trying to conceive.
Like most medical procedures, there are some things the patient can do to increase the chances of success. In the case of IUI, they involve avoiding certain things and activities after the procedure. But before we get to the things to avoid after IUI, let’s walk you through the various aspects of the IUI procedure, from the preparation to the actual insemination.
The IUI process in Thailand typically begins with an initial consultation with a reproductive specialist or fertility doctor. During this consultation, the couple’s medical history is thoroughly reviewed to understand the underlying causes of infertility. Factors such as the woman’s age, the man’s sperm quality, and the presence of any medical conditions or reproductive disorders are all taken into consideration to determine if IUI is a suitable treatment option.
Ovulation Induction and Monitoring
Once IUI is deemed appropriate, the next step is monitoring the woman’s ovulation cycle. Accurate timing is crucial for IUI, as it should coincide with the woman’s fertile window. Ovulation is typically tracked through methods like ultrasound scans, blood tests, and at-home ovulation predictor kits. When it’s time for ovulation induction, ovarian stimulation is started using oral medications to increase the number of dominant follicles in the ovaries. When the follicles reach an optimal size (determined by an ultrasound scan), ovulation induction can be achieved by injecting a drug, usually into the stomach or thigh.
Sperm preparation is a critical component of the IUI procedure. The male partner provides the sperm sample, which is then subjected to a laboratory process to select the healthiest and most motile sperm. This process involves washing and concentrating the sperm and removing any debris, dead sperm, or other potentially harmful substances. The resulting sperm sample is known as “washed sperm” and is more likely to fertilize an egg successfully.
Timing is of the essence in IUI. The washed sperm needs to be introduced into the uterus at the precise moment of ovulation when the woman’s egg is released from the ovary. The fertility specialist will schedule the IUI procedure accordingly, ensuring that the insemination takes place at the optimal time.
The IUI procedure itself is a relatively quick and minimally invasive process. It is often performed in the fertility clinic and doesn’t require general anesthesia. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of the insemination procedure:
1. Speculum Insertion: The patient is positioned on an examination table, and a speculum is guided into the vagina to allow access to the cervix.
2. Catheter Insertion: A thin, flexible catheter that holds the washed sperm is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. This step is typically painless or causes only minor discomfort.
3. Sperm Injection: The washed sperm is gently injected into the uterus through the catheter. The catheter is then carefully removed.
4. Rest Period: After the procedure, the woman is often advised to rest for a short period before leaving the clinic. Some women may experience mild cramping or spotting, but these symptoms usually subside quickly.
Following the IUI procedure, it’s important for the woman to continue monitoring her ovulation cycle. In some cases, fertility medications such as hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) may be prescribed to support the luteal phase of the cycle, which is the period between ovulation and menstruation.
Approximately two weeks after the IUI procedure, a pregnancy test is performed to determine whether or not the treatment was successful. This waiting period can be emotionally challenging for couples as they eagerly anticipate the results. In the event of a successful IUI, the woman will test positive for pregnancy, and further monitoring will be scheduled to confirm the viability of the pregnancy.
The success of IUI can vary depending on multiple factors, including the cause of infertility, the woman’s age, the quality of sperm, and the number of cycles undergone. On average, the success rates of IUI typically range from 10% to 20% per cycle. Many couples may need to undergo multiple IUI cycles before achieving a successful pregnancy.
What to Avoid After IUI
After undergoing an IUI procedure, you want to avoid anything that could harm your chances of conceiving. If you have questions about how long each of these things should be avoided, you can ask your doctor for guidance. Specific things to avoid after IUI include:
Painkillers. Many women experience cramping after an IUI procedure, but painkillers are something to avoid. Painkillers containing ibuprofen can disrupt conception and reduce sperm production and male fertility. If you need painkillers, your doctor can recommend safe ones to take.
Stress. Avoiding stress is crucial after IUI, as stress can lead to hormonal imbalances and reduce your chances of conceiving.
Caffeine and raw foods. Things to avoid after IUI may include some parts of your daily diet, like caffeine and raw foods. There is some evidence that caffeine can reduce the chances of conception. Raw foods should be avoided as there is a higher chance of infection and indigestion when including raw foods in your diet.
Lifting heavy objects. Lifting any object that weighs over 4-5 kilograms should be avoided after undergoing IUI. Lifting heavy objects can cause cramping of the stomach muscles and may damage the uterine lining.
Swimming. Avoid swimming for at least two days after IUI treatment. Diving into the ocean or swimming pool puts you at risk of contracting an infection, which can reduce your chances of conceiving.
Excessive Exercise. While exercising after the IUI period can increase your chances of conceiving, you should limit yourself to light exercises only. Light stretching and yoga are the best exercises after undergoing IUI. Avoid exercises that could raise your body temperature.
Visit the V Fertility Center at Vejthani Hospital
The V Fertility Center (VFC) at Vejthani Hospital offers a range of medical services for those having trouble conceiving naturally. Schedule an appointment with the doctors at the VFC and give yourself the best chance of conceiving.
Article by Dr. Worawat Siripoon