Last Updated on March 26, 2023 by Avi Steen
If you’re waiting for your intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycle results, it can be tough to remain patient and optimistic. While everyone’s experience is slightly different, there are some common symptoms that many women have before discovering whether their IUI was successful.
The roller coaster of emotions during this period can often be overwhelming, but understanding what may lie ahead of you and being aware of any additional signs helps make the wait more bearable.
Here’s everything you need to know about identifying IUI pregnancy symptoms so that you’re better equipped to handle them when they come up!
What Is IUI?
IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is a fertility procedure where a doctor injects sperm directly into the uterus. This procedure helps increase the chance of conception by bypassing the cervix, which can be a barrier to successful fertilization.
An IUI procedure aims to help couples struggling with infertility conceive naturally. The most common use for intrauterine insemination is for male-factor-related infertility.
Doctors will often recommend an IUI procedure for the following circumstances:
low sperm count
decreased sperm mobility
other mild male-factor infertility
cervical factor (lack of vaginal discharge)
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Understanding the Timing of IUI
Women may use fertility drugs to trigger ovulation during an IUI procedure, often called a trigger shot. The doctor will use a combination of ultrasound and hormone tests to determine the best time for insemination.
Generally, timing is based on when the egg is released from the follicle, or “ovulation.” Then, a urine or blood test can confirm a rise in the luteinizing hormone.
The IUI procedure includes using an IUI catheter for artificial insemination based on the natural cycle of a woman’s ovulation period or the triggered ovulation. Actual pregnancy symptoms won’t happen during this phase of the procedure.
Implantation occurs when a fertilized egg burrows into the uterus wall. After the fertility treatment is successful and implantation takes place, pregnancy hormones will release and cause noticeable symptoms in most cases.
Signs of Successful IUI Treatment
IUI pregnancy symptoms are similar to natural pregnancy symptoms leading to a normal pregnancy. However, hormonal changes will start to take place as soon as implantation is successful, and sometimes women will experience early signs of pregnancy.
With artificial insemination being closely monitored by a doctor, confirming these symptoms with a blood test or ultrasound makes it easier to determine if these symptoms are indeed a sign of successful implantation.
Major Symptoms After IUI Procedure
Implantation bleeding is a common early pregnancy sign that indicates a fertilized egg is implanted into the uterus. However, bleeding is often a misconception; most women instead experience spotting due to implantation.
A good sign that you are indeed pregnant after the IUI method is a delay in the start of your menstrual cycle. A menstrual delay is categorized as a missed period. If you haven’t already, it’s time to take a pregnancy test.
The same symptoms of a normal pregnancy apply to IUI pregnancy with the addition of breast tenderness. Breast soreness is an early symptom of pregnancy that occurs when hormone levels spike. Pregnancy hormones can cause the breasts to become sensitive and sore to the touch.
A confirmed blood test of the pregnancy hormone HCG, food cravings, positive home pregnancy tests, fatigue, nausea, and cramping are signs of further fertilization and pregnancy success.
If you receive a positive pregnancy test, contact your doctor immediately to schedule an appointment.
Self-Care in the Luteal Phase
In the two weeks following an IUI procedure, paying attention to your body and any changes is essential. Self-care should be a priority during this time. Rest when you can, and try not to overdo it with strenuous exercise or activities.
Just because you’re resting doesn’t mean your physical health shouldn’t be prioritized. Focus on fueling your body with nutritious foods and continue taking prenatal vitamins.
Having a support system to lean on during this time will make all the difference. If you’re in a fertility support group, share your experience; they’ll know how to comfort you during this sensitive time.
When Should I Take A Pregnancy Test?
Medical professionals advise waiting at least two weeks after your IUI procedure before home testing. This allows enough time for the HCG hormone levels to reach detectable quantities.
It is also important to remember that even after a positive pregnancy test, you may still experience spotting or light bleeding, which could indicate further implantation into the uterine wall.
A successful IUI treatment will look different for everyone. However, pregnancy signs and symptoms will be similar to a natural fertility journey. The important thing is to remember that the medical team is available for you at any time to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Although a fertility journey can be stressful, many resources and support systems are available to help you through your experience.
Octavia Steen is an NBDA certified fertility doula, health coach, certified fitness nutrition specialist, aspiring missionary with the COGIC, and owner of Mother Mindset. She helps future and current mamas become more consistent in faith + fitness and grow closer to God so they can create a healthier lifestyle from the inside out!