What You Should Expect after Receiving Intrauterine Insemination


After intrauterine insemination (IUI), you typically need to wait two weeks for a follow-up appointment to determine whether or not the insemination was successful. During these two weeks, you may experience a variety of symptoms.

Some of the symptoms that you experience may indicate that the procedure was successful, while others may indicate that you need to visit your doctor immediately.

Here is what you should expect after receiving intrauterine insemination.

You Should Avoid Strenuous Activity and Get Rest

For many years, fertility experts believed that patients needed to be put on bedrest following artificial insemination to increase their chances of successful fertilization. In fact, doctors used to believe that lying prone helped the sperm fertilize the eggs.

Thanks to modern technology and years of research, doctors now understand that bedrest is not a requirement for successful fertilization.

While you may need to remain prone during the procedure, the procedure only lasts about 10 to 15 minutes. A catheter is inserted into your vagina. It then penetrates the cervix.

Doctors place the sperm sample in a syringe that is inserted into the catheter. The sperm, along with some fluid, is injected into the uterus.

After the doctor removes the catheter, you may have to remain prone for a short while. However, most patients leave the clinic or doctor’s office within an hour or two.

While bed rest is not required after you get home, you should get some rest and avoid strenuous activity.

Some patients experience mild cramping or discomfort after the IUI procedure. You may even experience dizziness or lightheadedness. Depending on the severity of these side effects, rest may be needed for you to quickly recover.

Most patients can resume their daily activities the same day as the procedure. However, some doctors recommend that you rest for a day or two.

Besides the potential for minor physical side effects, the procedure can take an emotional toll on some women. A day or two of rest may help with the emotional aspect of the procedure.

Strenuous activity is not recommended after undergoing the IUI procedure. There are several reasons why you should avoid overexerting yourself. Besides needing to maintain a healthy environment for your embryos, you may need to allow your ovaries to recover.

Before the procedure, fertility specialists may require you to take certain medications to help stimulate the ovaries and promote ovulation. These medications may cause the ovaries to swell, resulting in cramping and mild discomfort.

Avoiding strenuous activity is recommended to allow the swelling to go away. Your fertility specialists may also recommend that you avoid swimming or taking a bath to reduce the risk of infection.

Potential Side Effects of the IUI Procedure

Besides swelling of the ovaries, there are other potential side effects to the standard IUI procedure. Some women experience a discharge from their vagina after the procedure is completed.

This discharge is a common side effect and should not be cause for concern. It is normal cervical mucus. In some cases, the procedure dislodges some of the mucus, resulting in the discharge.

It is also possible to experience some spotting. This is also a normal side effect of the IUI procedure and should not require any special treatment. The spotting may be the result of the catheter penetrating the cervix and it should not pose a continuous problem. However, if the spotting persists, you should contact your fertility specialist.

Women may also notice mild cramping or moderate discomfort. This may last one to three days and does not indicate that your procedure went wrong. However, if you experience cramping or discomfort, you may want to take a day or two to rest. Allow your body to recover from this slightly invasive procedure.

Some fertility doctors may allow you to use over-the-counter medications to help deal with the cramping or discomfort. If the discomfort turns into severe pain or lasts longer than a few days, you should get a hold of your doctor. Persistent bloating or pain may be the result of an infection or a rare side effect.

Fertilization May Only Take a Few Hours

When going through the IUI procedure, women also want to know how long it takes for successful implantation. These procedures are carefully scheduled to line up with ovulation.

Some women do not realize that the ovulation window is relatively short. You may only have up to 24 hours to fertilize the egg after ovulation starts. For successful implantation, the sperm must reach the egg during this short window.

While the sperm may reach the egg within hours, it can take up to two weeks for the egg to successfully implant itself in the uterine lining. However, about 40% of patients become pregnant by the ninth day.

After the IUI procedure, intercourse is allowed. In fact, some doctors encourage you to have sex to help the uterus contract. This contraction pushes the sperm toward the egg. However, you may also be advised to wait for one to two days before engaging in intercourse.

How Do You Know If You Are Pregnant?

Fertility specialists typically schedule a patient to come back in two weeks after the procedure. As mentioned, it can take up to two weeks for successful implantation.

As waiting is difficult, you may choose to use a home pregnancy test. Unfortunately, these tests are less accurate when you take them before the 14 days are over. While you may get a positive result, you have no way to determine if it is a true positive result or a false positive.

It typically takes about two weeks after fertilization for your body to produce enough of the pregnancy hormone for the pregnancy test to detect the hormone.

While a pregnancy test may not be effective so soon after the procedure, there are a couple of other signs of pregnancy. You may notice spotting or cramping.

In the end, the IUI procedure is relatively simple. Most women do not experience any major side effects. However, if you experience discomfort or pain that does not go away, you should contact your doctor as soon as you can to rule out any potential issues.