The two-week wait for early signs of pregnancy can be more suspense than any thriller movie. But what if you had an intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedure? Are the signs of implantation the same? If not, what should you look out for? Let’s run through what to expect after an IUI treatment.
From IUI to implantation: How long does it take?
Although intrauterine insemination places the sperm cells in the uterine artificially, once they’re in there, the process is exactly the same as any other pregnancy. Consequently, after a sperm is able to fertilize an egg, it can take another 4 to 6 days for the developing zygote to make its way to the uterus, and another 5 days or so before the implantation is complete.
In order to see if the implantation was successful, it may take another few days for levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG to rise enough to register on a pregnancy test. This is why you need to wait around 14 days for a test before you know if an IUI was successful.
Pregnancy symptoms after IUI
Some mothers report experiencing a sensation of stinging or cramping during implantation. This phenomenon hasn’t been scientifically verified, but so-called “implantation cramping” seems relatively common. However, the IUI procedure itself has been known to cause uterine cramps in some cases, so it may be hard to tell the difference.
Some slight bleeding or “spotting” can sometimes occur as the fertilized egg implants in the endometrium lining. This resembles a mix of normal vaginal discharge and light brown or pinkish blood. Implantation bleeding normally clears up after a day or two, or a week at most.
If you’re charting your basal body temperature (BBT), you may notice a decline in your luteal phase pattern. Not all women experience this, and not all those who do go on to become pregnant, but the implantation dip has attained an almost mythic status amongst aspiring mothers. It’s not exactly a reliable indication of pregnancy, but it’s certainly not a bad sign if you see one on your chart!
Continuing high temperature
Pregnancy means that your progesterone levels stay elevated for longer than the usual 12 to 16-day lifespan of the corpus luteum. On a BBT chart, you’ll notice this as a longer-than-normal streak of high temperature days: 20 days of elevated temps is almost a dead giveaway of early pregnancy.
Other symptoms after IUI to watch out for
Since IUI is a relatively non-invasive technique, it’s uncommon for there to be any complications. However, it’s worth being aware of something not going right, just in case. See your doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Bright red bleeding from the vagina
- Pain or cramping in the abdomen, neck, and legs
- Feeling faint
These could indicate an infection or tubal pregnancy, so it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
If you’ve been prescribed fertility medication as part of your IUI treatment, it’s also worth being aware of the signs of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). This occurs when fertility medications trigger the development of too many ovarian follicles at once. If you experience abdominal pain, nausea, or breathlessness after being treated with fertility drugs, see your healthcare provider.
Keep IUI success symptoms in mind!
No matter how you’re trying to conceive, getting pregnant sometimes comes down to the luck of the draw. The two-week wait between an IUI procedure and a pregnancy can seem to go on forever, so it’s no surprise if you tend to scrutinize body signs.
Just remember, while some moms do experience early signs of pregnancy at this stage, not everyone does, so try not to be too anxious. You’ll be able to find out whether you’re pregnant in good time, and until then, sticking to a normal, healthy lifestyle is the best step you can take in the meantime.