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The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

Managing Nausea during IVF Treatment

By Paula Hovell on August 30, 2020

IVF treatmentIn vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a highly successful fertility treatment. This procedure takes place in multiple stages, each of which assists with one part of conception. Prior to undergoing IVF treatment, patients should have a thorough understanding of the treatment, and the side effects they may experience. 

Fertility specialists at the Center for Fertility & Gynecology prepare patients from Los Angeles, CA, Tarzana, CA, Bakersfield, CA, and surrounding areas for the symptoms that may develop during IVF, such as nausea. Nausea is often a concern among our patients. Here, we go over the likelihood of nausea during IVF, and offer some tips for managing this condition.

How Common Is Nausea during IVF?

Nausea is extremely common during IVF. While a small percent of women may not suffer from it, many experience some degree of nausea at one or more stages of their IVF journey. 

IVF patients should understand that nausea is likely to vary in severity from one person to another. Some women experience nausea in waves, while others deal with long, persistent bouts. Similarly, most women feel nauseous without ever getting sick, but others may actually vomit.

When Is Nausea Most Common?

Nausea can occur at anytime throughout IVF, but it is most common during these phases of IVF treatment:

  • Ovarian stimulation - To stimulate the ovaries, patients are prescribed fertility medication. This medication alters hormone levels, which is a leading cause of IVF nausea.
  • Egg retrieval - Egg retrieval typically causes side effects such as cramping, bloating, and mild discomfort. However, because egg retrieval occurs so closely following ovarian stimulation, some patients experience nausea during this stage of treatment, as a lingering effect of fertility medication.
  • Embryo transfer - Nausea following embryo transfer is also very common. Nausea at this phase of treatment may sometimes be an early sign of a successful pregnancy, but patients should avoid reading too much into it, since nausea can occur even when the patient is not pregnant.

Is Nausea Ever a Sign of Complications?

Nausea is a common side effect of IVF treatment and is very rarely a sign of complications. While nausea should not be a cause for concern in most cases, we do advise patients to alert our fertility specialists if nausea is extreme, if they are having a difficult time keeping down food or beverages, if nausea gets increasingly worse over time, or if if is accompanied by other unusual side effects, such as heavy bleeding or severe pain.

Tips for Controlling Nausea 

Some degree of nausea may be unavoidable during IVF treatment, but there are some steps that patients can take to try to minimize their discomfort:

  • Eat small snacks throughout the day to avoid having an empty stomach
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Avoid spicy foods and especially fatty foods
  • Try sucking on peppermint or ginger lozenges when nausea strikes
  • Stay well hydrated

Contact Our Fertility Specialists

If you are considering IVF and would like more information about the procedure, the fertility specialists at the Center for Fertility & Gynecology can answer any questions you may have. Reach out to our team of specialists by calling (818) 881-9800, or send us a message anytime.

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