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A Real Look at IVF and its Side Effects

The side effects of IVF are often not talked about. Fitness influencer Anna Victoria opens about her experience.

April 30, 2020
Laura Beck

While Anna Victoria is now 24 weeks pregnant, she has had a long infertility journey, and has openly shared it on Instagram. In October of 2019, she shared a photo of herself that on the surface looked as though she was pregnant, when in actuality, she was bloated from the side effects of IVF treatments. Specifically, the egg retrieval caused her pain and bloating. This article will discuss her journey as well as other side effects that are not commonly talked about when talking about IVF.

  • Anna Victoria’s experience
  • Side effects of IVF 
Anna Victoria lies on the couch while her husband prepares a needle for her first IVF injections
Anna Victoria first starting her IVF journey. Photo courtesy of Anna VIctoria YouTube

Anna Victoria was open about her journey

She shared the positives as well as the negatives, which included side effects of egg retrieval

Anna Victoria went into detail on an Instagram post that she endured five days of bloating after the egg retrieval, one of the steps of IVF. She said she wasn’t sure which was more painful--the procedure itself or the bloating afterwards. She said probably both.

While bloating or feelings of fullness is a common side effect of the egg retrieval, Anna Victoria chalked it up to just being another part of the recovery. She also shared that she couldn’t “sit or stand or even move for the first three days without wincing in pain or bracing myself.”

In sharing these personal anecdotes with her 1.2 million followers on Instagram, she is opening up the dialogue for a whole community that would otherwise not know the details of such a personal story. It was in response to the hashtag #whatimgoingthru campaign, and she felt it was necessary to be open and transparent to her followers. The campaign reflects on the impact social media has on mental health.

Side Effects of IVF

The treatments are more widely known, but not the side effects

This is why it was particularly telling that a well known fitness instructor opened up about her journey. She was able to shed light on the situation, and give others an opening to share their struggles.

As we mentioned above, feelings of bloating or fullness are common side effects after egg retrieval. In addition, typical side effects after an embryo transfer can include passing a small amount of clear or bloody fluid shortly after the procedure-- due to the swabbing of the cervix before the embryo transfer, breast tenderness due to high estrogen levels, mild bloating, mild cramping, and constipation. It is recommended that you contact your doctor if you develop moderate or severe pain after the embryo transfer.

The many steps of IVF are overwhelming, but with the help of your doctor, they can be made more manageable. In opening up about her experience, Anna Victoria shared a side of herself that was unknown, and others were able to feel more able to open up and feel connected to her.

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