Your Natural Guide to an Easier Egg Retrieval
Did you know that the egg retrieval procedure is considered minor surgery? Not to worry though, you’ll be sedated! (Which means don’t go alone, you’ll need someone to drive you home.) This blog is filled with tips and tricks to get you through the procedure with knowledge and ease. No surprises here!
What’s happening exactly?
Your eggs are typically retrieved through transvaginal ultrasound aspiration (the same ultrasound you’re already used to.) A fine needle is inserted into the ovaries to extract the eggs. In certain circumstances, the ovaries are accessed through the abdomen through laparoscopic surgery. The procedure itself typically takes 30 minutes.
Sperm is retrieved at the same time, so make sure your partner abstains for the recommended amount of time and is ready to provide a sample!
You will need to take the day off for the procedure as you’ll be recovering from anesthesia and experiencing a moderate amount of cramping. Many people find that they need a few days off work to be able to fully recover.
Is there anything to do to prepare?
Of course! Here are my top tips on how to prepare for the egg retrieval procedure, and recover like a champ
Before the Egg Retrieval
1. Sleep peacefully
You’ll have a faster recovery when your body is well rested, but you might be nervous the night before! Ease your nerves with a few soothing yoga poses like lying with your legs up the wall, or doing some deep breathing in child’s pose 10 minutes before bedtime.
2. Stay hydrated
Dehydrated tissues are more sensitive and pain medications & anesthesia can cause dehydration. I know you’re used to those full bladder ultrasounds so you should be a water drinking pro by now!
3. Pack your diet with fiber
Pain medications & anesthesia can also cause constipation. If you eat lots of fiber in the days leading up to the retrieval it will make going to the bathroom a lot easier. Incorporate foods like chia, flax, oatmeal, fruits and veggies, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa… the list goes on. While you’re eating those fiber rich foods, prepare your meals for the day of your retrieval ahead of time (or better yet get someone else to make them for you) to make healthy eating easier.
4. Stay calm with breathing techniques and meditation
You’ll have to be at the clinic early. You can use the wait time to keep yourself calm and centered. There are so many amazing apps you can download that will guide you through quick and easy relaxation techniques to try before the procedure begins. Some of my favourites are: Headspace, Calm, and Aware.
5. Go for regular acupuncture
If you’ve read my other blogs you’ll already know the incredible benefits of acupuncture for IVF. Not only will it improve the delivery of meds and nutrients to the pelvis with ample blood flow, it will ease your recovery after retrieval through tissue healing and relaxation. One to two sessions per week, leading up to the day of your retrieval, is ideal. If in extreme circumstances you cannot be sedated, acupuncture can be performed during the retrieval procedure for pain management.
After the Egg Retrieval
1. Ready your heating pad & castor oil
Expect to experience some mild to moderate cramping after the surgery. A heating pad can ease the muscle spasms. To make the relieving effects stronger, lather some castor oil over your pelvis and apply a cloth and heating pad over top.
2. Invest in ginger capsules
You may be prescribed over-the-counter analgesic medications like Advil and Tylenol to ease cramping. Ginger is also an extremely effective analgesic/anti-inflammatory and in high doses does not cause bowel or gastrointestinal symptoms. It will also ease any post-surgery nausea.
3. Have some organic pantyliners handy
You might notice a little bit of spotting the day of the surgery. I find organic liners to be a lot less irritating than conventional liners. Treat yourself to some new ones!
4. Cue up your favourite movies
Some people won’t need to take more than one day off to recover, but you will need at least the day of surgery to recuperate. Get in your PJs and slippers and enjoy your favourite chick flicks and Netflix B-list movies (does anybody else watch those but me?)
5. Get some more acupuncture
Here it is again! You’ve already done 12 sessions of acupuncture to optimize your eggs, now acupuncture can be used to relieve post-surgery symptoms. If you’re experiencing constipation, nausea, cramping, bloating, etc. acupuncture is your best friend.
The more in-control and in-the-know you are regarding the egg retrieval process, the better you will feel. We’re here to support you every step of the way.
We offer a free 30 minute consultation to all new patients. Call us today to book your appointment to find out more about how we can help you increase your chances of a smooth and successful egg retrieval. You can also book online!
Written by Dr Caleigh Sumner ND