This post has been medically reviewed by Dr. Sarah Mathis, D.O.
In the middle of your two-week-wait? Wondering how to make implantation successful whether you are trying naturally or doing IVF? So was I!
When I was trying to conceive (naturally), my husband and I didn’t have a problem with getting the egg and sperm to meet; I knew because I would get pregnant frequently. The issue was I kept having early losses. So I started researching like crazy what to do after ovulation to increase my chances of conceiving, and how to make implantation successful. It turns out there were SEVERAL evidence based things to do to increase implantation success naturally!
In this post I have 15 Tips Making Implantation Successful! These work whether you are trying to conceive naturally, or doing IVF, or an embryo transfer.
Table of Contents
How to Increase Chances of Implantation
One of the number one questions readers ask me is what they can do during the two week wait, or “luteal” period of their cycle (post ovulation & pre-menstruation) to boost their chances of a successful pregnancy.
They also want to know what herbs and foods they need to be avoiding after ovulation to help implantation.
Since research suggests that 75% of failed pregnancies are caused by failed implantation, this is VERY important!
When I was facing infertility, and experiencing recurrent miscarriage, I did lots of research on exactly this topic- how to increase chances of implantation during the two week wait! I am blessed to have gotten successfully pregnant (twice!) when the doctors said it wasn’t possible, based on these tips and other diet and lifestyle changes.
These are all the tricks I used during the two week wait to increase chances of implantation!
(Hey, and don’t miss ALL the tricks I used to get pregnant during infertility!)
What is Implantation?
Well, I’m glad you asked! Every month (if you’re lucky), an ovary releases an egg during ovulation (if you aren’t tracking ovulation, you should be). The follicle that released the egg starts producing progesterone which thickens your uterine lining and gets you all ready to get pregnant. If you have sex, and a sperm fertilizes the egg (hurrah!!), then the fertilized egg will travel down your fallopian tube towards your uterus.
Then, this is where the magic happens, the fertilized egg attaches to the wall of your uterus, and THAT, my friends, is implantation. Once the embryo implants in your healthy uterine lining, pregnancy has begun. This usually happens about 8 to 10 days after you ovulated, aka, days past ovulation (DPO). But it can actually happen anytime between 6 to 12 days after you’ve ovulated.
After a successful implantation, your body KNOWS you are pregnant, and starts sending out all the good pregnancy hormones, including hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which is what makes your pregnancy test turn positive.
You may have zero signs of implantation, or you may have some! Some common signs of implantation are implantation cramps, tender breasts, fatigue, increased urination, sensitive gums, tender breasts, and less commonly, implantation bleeding. If you’re tracking your BBT, your basal body temperature may have a small drop at implantation.
Things You Should Be Doing During the Two Week Wait
All of the tips below that will help make implantation successful, are what you should be doing during the two week wait, whether you are trying to conceive naturally, or have done IUI, IVF or an embryo transfer.
But don’t forget ALL the other things you can do to support your fertility overall! Be sure you are eating a healthy fertility diet to support your hormone health and build a healthy uterine lining. Although this is not the moment for castor oil packs or mayan abdominal massage, this is the time to eat a robust fertility diet, practice self-care, and avoid toxins!
15 Tips to Make Implantation Successful
1. Eat blood-building, warming foods, and avoid cold and raw foods. Eat plenty of spinach, kale, collards, and other leafy greens. You might be craving carbs, so now is also the time to indulge in reasonable servings of orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and squashes. Let yourself enjoy whole, gluten free grains like brown rice and quinoa. Focus on getting plenty of plant based protein and limiting your animal protein during this period (as opposed to your menstrual cycle, where animal protein is more useful). Traditional Chinese Medicine is very clear that avoiding cold and raw foods during your luteal phase can help improve chances of implantation. And of course, don’t cheat on your overall fertility diet (no caffeine, no booze, no refined carbs, no dairy, no gluten, etc.) . . . here’s a link to the fertility diet for egg health that I’ve used to get pregnant twice against the odds!
2. See your acupuncturist! Needles, moxibustion, and chinese herbs may all help increase the chances of successful implantation and address any particular issues you might have. The Infertility Cure is a great book that can help you with diet and lifestyle changes tailored towards your chinese medicine diagnosis. Also, check out my blog post on finding a great acupuncturist for fertility!
3. Laugh. A lot. Watch funny movies with your honey. Seriously- this study showed that couples who saw a clown or watched funny videos after their embryo transfers were 15% more likely to become successfully pregnant.
4. Visualize success. Seriously. Visualization is evidence based to boost fertility. Imagine that perfect egg meeting that perfect sperm and becoming a perfect embryo. Imagine that perfect embryo traveling down the fallopian tube and implanting perfectly in your lush, warm, welcoming uterus. Circle & Bloom makes this easy with their meditation & visualization programs that are tailored for a natural cycle or IUI/IVF. They also have programs for cycles of Frozen Embryo Transfer, Donor Egg, and embryo donation! Consider coming up with a daily mantra or affirmation that talks about your success. You can also obsessively watch the Miracle of Life on Youtube like I did :-).
5. Have sex every day. Or don’t. Do what you want :-). We were trying naturally, and I never quite trusted any ovulation prediction method so we continued to have sex every day post-assumed ovulation just to make sure we didn’t miss our chances. There are also some wild stories of women who ovulate twice in one cycle- again, we didn’t want to miss any chance. Further, there are some studies that show that the presence of semen in the cervix and uterus actually helps with implantation. Now, unfortunately, there is another study that shows that sex decreases the chances of implantation. Neither study is great. So- do what feels right to you. Check out my full blog post talking about this issue!
6. Meditate. Reaching the “relaxation response” during meditation for 15-20 minutes a day has been shown to confer all sorts of health benefits! If you aren’t a practiced yogi there are plenty of ways you can meditate including using a Circle & Bloom fertility program which has meditations tailored to each day of your cycle, using an app like Expectful which is tailored to trying to conceive, or using an awesome gadget like SpireStone which teaches you how to meditate and tracks your progess.
7. Put your legs up the wall! Seriously! The very best yoga pose for the luteal period is Legs Up the Wall. Basically you lie on your back and scoot your butt up as close as possible to the wall and just hang out there. The idea is you are increasing blood flow to your reproductive organs right when your uterine lining needs it to increase chances of successful implantation. I would do this each night during the luteal period for a few minutes before bed.
8. Exercise gently & do luteal-phase tailored fertility yoga. This time of your cycle is a good time for gentle exercises like walking, yoga, or swimming. My favorite fertility yoga is the Restoring Fertility DVD. They have 4 different practices for each part of the menstural cycle (menstrual, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal). The practices also incorporate some really cool self-acupressure (also tailored to your cycle) to help boost your chances. Check out this guest post on developing a yoga practice for fertility!
9. Don’t go crazy with the pineapple! I know, I know, its a total thing in the TTC and infertility communities. And while it may help if taken right at ovulation, it may actually hurt your chances when eaten later in the cycle. So, if you are determined to do it, here’s how: You take the core of the pineapple and cut it into 5 even chunks. Throw one chunk a day into your smoothie starting on ovulation day. After the chunks are gone, no more pineapple. I only did this once ever, and not during one of the two months I conceived successfully. Need help tracking ovulation? Check out this post on the best fertility monitors.
10. Switch up your seeds in your smoothie. With my second successful pregnancy I had been seed cycling for about two months. The basic idea is that pre-ovulation you eat seeds that boost your estrogen and post-ovulation you eat seeds that boost your progesterone. So, to boost my progesterone during the luteal period I ate and added to my smoothie sunflower and sesame seeds. Click here for my fertility smoothie recipes, including one for the luteal phase!
11. Keep your feet warm! No time during your cycle is keeping your feet warm more important than during the luteal period! Click here to read my post on how warm feet=warm womb!
12. Act like you are pregnant. This means you should be avoiding all the same things as you would if you were pregnant. For example, ibuprofen and other over the counter drugs are a no-no in pregnancy, so it is a no-no for you during the luteal period. Be sure to take your prenatal, and any other supplements or medications your doctor has prescribed. No super hot baths or hot tubs, watch your over the counter meds, no under cooked meat, etc. Also- don’t go dying your hair with toxic chemicals or walking into a nail salon either! See my overview post here on what chemicals and toxins to avoid for fertility, and click here to see all my blog posts on non-toxic living for fertility.
13. Channel your stress for good. If you have a hard time during the two week wait, don’t stress about the stress. Acknowledge it as a sign your power, energy, and fertility. Don’t desperately try to eradicate it. It is you. You don’t have to be relaxed 100% of the time. All of your energy is your life, your fertility, your goodness. It’s all love. Accept, and be. Utilize the energy for gentle walks, yoga, and getting creative. Write, make art, cook, and really use all of that energy! Consider praying, starting a gratitude practice, dream journaling, or using my fertility affirmations for the luteal phase!
14. Take Your Supplements. Don’t forget to take your prenatal, egg health boosting CoQ10 and your gut health remedying and folate boosting probiotic! Check out all my favorite fertility supplements here!
15. Check Your Progesterone. Progesterone is crucial for a successful pregnancy. Read this post all about progesterone and decide if you need to check your levels!
Want more? Check out my guide for maximizing fertility during your menstrual period here! And, if you haven’t seen it, check out the whole list of 79 Diet & Lifestyle Changes I made to get Happy, Healthy, and Pregnant!
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Anna Rapp is a fertility journalist and non-toxic living expert. When Anna Rapp was struggling with infertility and recurrent early miscarriage, she was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve, High FSH, low AMH, low follicle count, endometriosis, and an MTHFR mutation. Despite being told donor eggs were her only solution, Anna used her graduate training in research methods and analysis to read everything she could find on fertility and egg health. Ultimately, she lowered her FSH and got pregnant naturally (twice). She blogs about how she did it and encourages her readers to take charge of their fertility journey and get happy, healthy, and pregnant!