Is it safe to have sex after having an IUI?

One of the many advances in fertility science in recent decades has been the development of IUI. An IUI refers to an intrauterine insemination. In an IUI, a very thin and very flexible catheter is threaded through the cervix. Sperm that has been specially prepared (known as “washed sperm”) is then injected directly into the uterus. An IUI takes only about five minutes or less. A speculum is inserted first, and then the catheter. After the sperm is injected, the catheter is removed slowly to help reduce discomfort. In some instances, a tenaculum may be used to hold the cervix. Many women choose to undergo an IUI over other procedures, such as IVF (in vitro fertilization) because it is one of the least invasive fertility procedures.

After having an IUI, you may have cramping or otherwise feel unwell. Your physician may advise you to take it easy for the rest of the day. Many women will reduce their aerobic activity and avoid heavier lifting in hopes that these efforts will increase the chances of implantation. Some women even prefer to continue to lay down immediately after the IUI procedure. If you are experiencing any cramping or pain during the procedure, you can take acetaminophen-based pain relievers, such as Tylenol.

Generally speaking, you can have sexual intercourse any time after an IUI. Your health care provider may even recommend having intercourse if it is an option, to help make sure that ovulation is covered. If you had any bleeding during the IUI, or if a tenaculum had to be used, your health care provider may recommend waiting as much as 48 hours before having sexual intercourse.

For a woman who has IVF, it is more important to take it easy. An IVF is a much more invasive procedure. Most experts and health care providers suggest that the patient remain sedentary for a full 24 hours after the IVF procedure. They recommend waiting for two to three weeks before having sexual intercourse after IVF. Strenuous exercises, including swimming, jogging, horseback riding, and heavy lifting should often be avoided until after pregnancy is confirmed.


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