The 'two-week wait' is the time between fertility treatment (IVF or IUI) and either a positive pregnancy test or your period. During this period, you’ll probably feel various emotions, from hope to fear. You may wonder if conception took place and what to do next. It can be a stressful time, but you can take steps to make the wait easier.
During the two-week wait, life can be an emotional rollercoaster. You may find yourself swaying between anticipation and joy, fear, sadness, anger, hope, frustration, or even guilt from one moment to the next. It can be exhausting and mentally draining, and you might find it hard to concentrate on anything else. But focusing on other things is exactly what you should do.
How to Cope with the Two-week Wait: The Dos
While there’s no magic formula for getting through the two-week wait, being kind to yourself is essential. While you’re waiting, do the following:
- Practice self-care. Get enough rest, eat well, drink water, and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Treat yourself to something relaxing, like a massage, a bath, or a hobby.
- Seek support. Reach out to your partner, family, friends, or a support group. Talk to your doctor or a counselor if you have any worries or questions.
- Stay busy. Keep yourself occupied with positive activities. Here are some ideas to pass the time:
- Work on a project (Try these craft ideas)
- Read a book
- Go to the theatre and watch a new movie or stay in and watch a classic
- Play a game
- Go for a walk
- Plan something fun after the two-week wait, like a trip you’ve been wanting to go on or a dinner with friends at the new spot in town you’ve wanted to try.
- Write down your feelings. Write a journal entry, a letter, or a list of hopes and fears. Expressing your thoughts and emotions on paper can help you release stress and gain perspective.
- Maintain healthy habits. Exercise moderately, eat nutritious foods, avoid certain medications, and quit smoking.
Communicate with your doctor and partner. Contact your doctor for guidance if you have any doubts or questions about the treatment or the wait. Keep your partner informed and involved in the process.
Behaviors to Avoid During the Two-Week Wait
Being patient for two weeks is hard, and you may be tempted to overthink things or over-test for pregnancy. These behaviors will make the wait more agonizing, so avoid them if possible:
- Taking too many pregnancy tests. They’re often wrong 12 days after ovulation or ten days after embryo transfer, and testing too soon can stress or disappoint you with false results.
- Obsessively worrying. Worrying too much can increase stress levels and affect your immune system and hormone balance. Focus on the positive aspects of the treatment and the potential outcomes instead of the negative ones.
- Symptom searching. Many symptoms can be caused by other factors besides pregnancy. Also, some people may not experience symptoms until later in their pregnancy. Symptom searching can increase your anxiety and disappointment if you don't feel anything or your symptoms change.
- Drinking and smoking. In the two-week wait, prioritize caution. Steer clear of drinking, smoking, or engaging in any risky activities that could harm a developing pregnancy. If you already exercise regularly, it's okay to continue but hold off on starting any intense new workout routines for now.
Getting Through the Two-Week Wait with Patience and Joy
The best thing you can do during the two-week wait is to let your body do its work. Don’t hurry the process or expect quick results. Trust that your treatment team has done their best to help you and that nature will do its part. Be patient and kind with yourself, find joy in the small things, and celebrate every step you take.