The majority of patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmatic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment will reach the stage of embryo transfer (ET), but only a small proportion of transferred embryos implant. Bed rest following ET has been recommended as a way to prevent embryo expulsion by gravity. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published prior to May 2014 reporting the effect of bed rest following ET, and irrespective of language, country of origin, blinding or sample size. Four RCTs, including 757 women met the inclusion criteria. Bed rest following ET did not improve clinical pregnancy and live birth rates, but reduced the implantation rate. The quality of the trials included was moderate because of attrition bias and possible reporting bias. The findings of this systematic review and meta-analysis are concordant with previously published literature and suggest that bed rest is not beneficial following ET. Moreover, it might negatively affect the outcome of IVF/ICSI cycles via stress/anxiety mechanisms.
Keywords: Bed rest; embryo transfer; implantation rate; live birth rate; pregnancy rate.