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What to Do After Egg Retrieval: A Complete Guide

If you’re undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) or another fertility treatment, you’ll likely need to undergo egg retrieval. This procedure involves using a needle to extract mature eggs from your ovaries, which will then be fertilized in a lab. While the egg retrieval process itself is relatively quick and straightforward, it’s important to take certain steps in the days and weeks following the procedure to optimize your chances of a successful pregnancy. In this article, we’ll provide a complete guide on what to do after egg retrieval.

Understanding the Egg Retrieval Process

Before we dive into the post-egg retrieval steps, it’s important to understand the procedure itself. Egg retrieval typically takes place about 36 hours after you receive an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which triggers ovulation. You’ll be sedated during the procedure, which usually takes less than 30 minutes. The doctor will use a needle to extract mature eggs from your ovaries, which will be immediately transported to a lab for fertilization.

Rest and Recovery

After the procedure, you’ll need to rest for a bit before going home. You should plan to take it easy for the next few days, avoiding heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, and sexual activity. You may experience some mild cramping and bloating, as well as spotting or light bleeding. These symptoms are normal and should subside within a few days.

Managing Pain and Discomfort

If you’re experiencing discomfort or pain after egg retrieval, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, avoid taking aspirin, as it can increase the risk of bleeding. You can also use a heating pad to alleviate cramping and discomfort. If you experience severe pain, fever, or heavy bleeding, contact your doctor right away.

Eating and Drinking

In the hours after egg retrieval, you’ll be able to eat and drink normally. However, it’s important to stay hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate you. Aim to drink plenty of water and other fluids, like herbal tea or coconut water. You may also want to eat a light, nutritious meal to help replenish your energy.

Taking Medications

After egg retrieval, you may be prescribed medications like antibiotics, pain relievers, and progesterone supplements. It’s important to take these medications exactly as prescribed, even if you’re feeling better. These medications will help prevent infection, reduce pain and discomfort, and support a healthy pregnancy.

Follow-Up Appointments

After egg retrieval, you’ll need to schedule follow-up appointments with your doctor. You’ll likely have an ultrasound a few weeks after the procedure to check on the status of your ovaries and uterus. Your doctor may also want to monitor your hormone levels to ensure that your body is responding appropriately to the fertility treatment.

Managing Stress and Anxiety

Undergoing fertility treatment can be stressful and anxiety-provoking, and egg retrieval is no exception. It’s important to prioritize self-care during this time, whether that means taking a bubble bath, practicing yoga or meditation, or simply spending time with loved ones. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider talking to a therapist or joining a support group for individuals undergoing fertility treatment.

Returning to Work and Daily Activities

You may be able to return to work and other daily activities a few days after egg retrieval, depending on how you’re feeling. However, it’s important to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard. You may want to take it easy for the first few days and gradually increase your activity level as you feel able.

Possible Complications

While complications from egg retrieval are rare, they can occur

Some possible complications include infection, bleeding, damage to surrounding organs, and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Signs of complications include severe pain, fever, heavy bleeding, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away.


In conclusion, egg retrieval is a crucial step in the in vitro fertilization process, and it’s important to take certain steps to optimize your chances of a successful pregnancy. By resting and recovering, managing pain and discomfort, staying hydrated, taking medications as prescribed, attending follow-up appointments, managing stress and anxiety, and gradually returning to work and daily activities, you can support your body and improve your chances of conceiving. Remember to listen to your body and seek medical attention if you experience any complications.


  1. How soon after egg retrieval can you do a pregnancy test?
  • You should wait at least two weeks after egg retrieval to do a pregnancy test.
  1. Is it normal to have cramping and bloating after egg retrieval?
  • Yes, mild cramping and bloating are normal after egg retrieval.
  1. How long does it take to recover after egg retrieval?
  • Most people can return to work and normal activities within a few days after egg retrieval, but it may take up to a week to fully recover.
  1. Can you exercise after egg retrieval?
  • You should avoid strenuous exercise for at least a few days after egg retrieval, but light exercise like walking or gentle yoga is usually okay.
  1. What are the signs of complications after egg retrieval?
  • Signs of complications after egg retrieval include severe pain, fever, heavy bleeding, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away.
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