By: Jessica Moncivais | Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Patti Haebe, NMD
IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is a simple fertility procedure, where sperm is placed directly into the uterus using a small catheter. IUI is performed around the time of ovulation and may be accompanied with fertility drugs to assist in the process. The goal of this procedure is to enhance the chances of fertilization by increasing the number of healthy sperm that reach the fallopian tubes when the woman is most fertile.
Keys to a successful IUI treatment depend on a variety of factors such as your age, fertility diagnosis, and how long you have been trying to conceive. Here are steps you can take at home to help optimize your IUI procedure!
Avoid vigorous exercise
Within the first days of a menstrual cycle, some women will take medication to help stimulate the ovaries to grow eggs. During this time, ovaries enlarge due to the hormones, which then can cause bloating and discomfort in the pelvic area. While you want to continue regular exercise, it is best to take it easy with low impact, less strenuous exercises such as walking, riding a bike, or light yoga.
Eating a healthy diet that includes all food groups such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and whole grains, can go a long way to help you prepare for a healthy pregnancy. You will want to avoid alcohol and limit your caffeine intake as well. There are a variety of vitamins and supplements you can include, along with prenatal vitamins to increase the chances of your first IUI being successful.
Follow your doctor’s orders
Prior to your treatment, your doctors will provide you with instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. Many fertility doctors want you to come in with a full bladder and will request you drink plenty of water beforehand. You will also want to plan accordingly with your male partner if you are using a fresh semen sample, meaning abstaining from intercourse for the appropriate amount of time as recommended by your provider.
After insemination, if you stand up and walk around, the sperm will not trickle back out – this is a myth! However, some providers will still have you raise your hips for 10- 30 minutes after the procedure if it is their preference. It is normal to feel bloating and cramping, breast soreness, fatigue, and to experience light spotting and pelvic discomfort afterward. If at any time you experience blurred vision, severe pelvic pain, sudden weight gain of 5 pounds or more, or feeling short of breath, contact your doctor immediately.
Unwind and De-stress
After your IUI treatment, it’s normal to feel anxious and excited to test for pregnancy but take this time for yourself. Breathe and relax. Spend this time with your partner, get a massage, or journal. Do activities that you enjoy or calm your mind. You should avoid hot baths, hot tubs, or saunas as the heat can interfere with the implantation process.
Now keep in mind nothing is ever guaranteed, as in any fertility treatment. Should you not get pregnant on the first IUI attempt, do not get discouraged! There is still a chance. Statistics show that the majority of IUI pregnancies occur in the first three to four cycles of IUI. Infertility can take a toll mentally and physically, especially if it has been a lifelong struggle. Be kind to yourself.
Premom offers Virtual Consultation services directly through the app. If you would like to book a consultation with one of our fertility specialists, they can review your cycle data and offer additional personalized support. You can find additional information regarding these services through the "More" tab in the Premom app.