It’s time for our first ‘Unpregnant Chicken Answers’ where I, you know, answer a question that was sent in by a reader just like you! I’m thrilled beyond thrilled to be doing this post! I have always thought I would make a great advice columnist… so here I get to do that. All around infertility! Huzzah.
Our first question comes to us from Health Nut,
“Hey, Chicken. My husband and I have tried IUI 3 times with hyperstimulation drugs and were unsuccessful. Next step for us is ICSI IVF in November. My tummy is still very sore and bloated, and sometimes I can still feel the pain from my previous injections.
My question is when does the swelling in my tummy go away (if ever)? I still feel like a bloated whale, and it’s been 2 months since my last IUI, and I know it’s only going to happen again (probably worse) with IVF. Can you give me a guideline of what to expect? How bad does it get? When does it subside? Is there anything I can do to alleviate the discomfort?
Obviously, I want a baby more than anything. And if I get pregnant, it will all be worth it. But I feel so fat, my clothes don’t fit, and people are noticing. Will I ever feel normal again?
Dear Health Nut,
Oh woman, I feel you! The bloating from treatments can be so awful and, yes, unfortunately it is likely to get worse once you start IVF. How much worse really depends on each woman’s body and their specific protocol. I know that for me personally I had to start wearing mainly stretchy pants or using a hair band to loop through my button hole to connect my pants together during my IVF round. Before I even got pregnant! Your ovaries are said to swell up to the size of a grapefruit each during the egg growing phase. It majorly sucked but there wasn’t a lot to be done about it.
After collection the swelling will initially flair even more. That is because you have to add in swelling and bruising to your already grapefruit sized ovaries and swelling in the abdomen too. It shouldn’t be so severe that you are in agony but it can be damn uncomfortable. For that my clinic suggested pediatlyte and gas X pills and that helped a lot. Day 2 and 3 were considerably worse than the first day for me so don’t be surprised if it seems like it’s worse the next day. They return to their normal size 3 months after the treatment, no matter the outcome.
So, with all that good news to look forward to, you’re probably wondering what you can do about the bloating you already have! At this point your bloating is likely one part swelling and water retention and one part weight gain from previous treatments. It is totally normally to go up about 5 lbs a cycle (Yes, even BFN cycles. God damnit).
For the swelling make sure you’re eating enough fiber (pooping regularly helps) and drinking an ass load of water to flush your system. Other than that it’s really just about camouflaging any excess weight and tenderness for now. Which I know is NOT what you were hoping to hear! But there is only so much you can do when actively cycling. Find some really cute sweaters and tunics. Thank god for fall clothing, so much more forgiving than summer garb! With any luck they can double as maternity wear very shortly.
Baby dust, baby dust, baby dust!