One of the most significant milestones in the IVF journey is the egg retrieval process. It’s natural to feel a mix of excitement and nerves as you prepare for this procedure. However, with the right preparation, you can minimise your stress levels and feel more confident as you go through the recovery process.
As someone who has been through the egg retrieval process several times, I know how daunting it can be. My first egg retrieval was during the pandemic, and it was my first-ever hospital visit and procedure. I was scared of going under anaesthesia and recovering from the procedure. However, with some careful planning, I found that I was able to ease my worries and make my recovery more manageable.
In this blog post, I’ll share my 10 egg retrieval essentials that can make all the difference as you recover from the procedure. I understand that every person’s experience is unique, but I hope that these tips can help you feel more comfortable and confident during your recovery.
After your egg retrieval procedure, you will need to rest and relax for the remainder of the day. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that is easy to get in and out of. My stomach swelled after the procedure so even something that was comfortable to start with could become uncomfortable quickly. My favourite outfit for retrievals was these Cachia Harrie Loungewear set because it was buttery soft, not too hot because I got HOT after my retrievals, and easy to get back on. I actually wore these sets also through most of my pregnancy they are that comfortable. I also recommend having slip on shoes to wear home because bending down to put on sneaker or boots can be quite inconvenient.
Heating Pad or Hot Water Bottle
Many women experience cramping and discomfort after an egg retrieval. A heating pad or hot water bottle can help alleviate this discomfort and provide relief. Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions and avoid placing the heating pad directly on your skin.
Your doctor will likely prescribe medication to manage pain and reduce the risk of infection following your egg retrieval. Make sure to fill your prescriptions before your procedure and have them on hand at home if you can. I didn’t know I could ask for this prescription before the procedure so the first time had to go into the pharmacy after my procedure feeling sore and doppy, so make sure you ask your doctor to prevent this from happening.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
In addition to your prescription medications, you may also find it helpful to have over-the-counter pain relievers on hand. These medications can help manage any discomfort or pain you may experience. I actually never needed the heavy pain medication that the doctor prescribed and kept to the over the counter meds to keep comfortable.
Nutritious Foods and Beverages
After your egg retrieval, you may experience some nausea or vomiting. It’s important to stay hydrated and nourished with nutritious foods and beverages. We live in an area where you can’t order in food (shock horror) so I ordered HelloFresh (use this link to save $200) before my procedure so I could just have food ready to make for a few days without having to worry about shopping centres. Also make sure you have your emotional support cup, I liked having this Ello Bottle and still love and rave about this one, because you’ll be laying down you want to have something that doesn’t leak each time you drink
After your egg retrieval, you will need to rest and avoid strenuous activities for a few days, don’t be like me and think gardening is going to be low impact! Have some entertainment on hand, like books, movies, or puzzles, to keep yourself occupied during this time. The second egg retrieval I had playlists setup of movies and shows to watch and it felt like such a reward because I waited to watch all the things over my recovery weekend.
Your breasts may be tender or sore following your egg retrieval. A supportive bra can help alleviate discomfort and provide support. Make sure to choose a bra that is comfortable and fits well and that you can lay comfortably in (can you tell that you need to lay down for a while) and nap as well! This is my favourite bra for comfort and it was great as it worked well for breastfeeding and now to protect my nipples from a little baby that likes to pull things while being rocked to sleep!
It’s normal to experience some vaginal bleeding or discharge after your egg retrieval. Stock up on sanitary pads to help manage this bleeding. Avoid using tampons or menstrual cups, as these may increase the risk of infection.
A Comfortable Spot
This might be a little TMI but we’re friends, right? For about the first 36 hours after my first retrieval I couldn’t really sit up right. They had to pop some stitches in and if I sat upright it caused discomfort, laying the seat down in the car was helpful but also once home being able to rest laying down was an absolute must and having it set up ready to fall in when I got home was a dream.
Egg retrievals (and IVF) can be a stressful and emotional experience. Make sure to have emotional support on hand, whether it’s a partner, family member, or friend. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your IVF support team or a therapist if you need additional support. The ups and downs of IVF are lot, and speaking about it can really make a difference to your emotional wellbeing even when you don’t want to! I also used some alternative support practices like meditation, tapping, and journaling to help support myself during this time.
This part of the IVF process is a crucial step in the IVF process, you’ll be nervously sitting by your phone desperately waiting to learn how many eggs fertilised and became your potential future babies. Having some essential items on hand can help make the wait and your recovery more comfortable and manageable.