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The two-week wait is the stretch between your attempts at pregnancy and the day you get your results. The term can seem alien to those who are not trying to conceive yet, but most moms are aware of it. Whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or with medicated attempts at a fertility centre, you’ll have to wait 14 days to get to know if you’re pregnant or not. Continue reading to know all about the 2WW.
What is Two Week Wait?
The two-week wait technically refers to the luteal phase of the pregnancy. It is a phase of the menstrual cycle which starts after ovulation and lasts until the start of pregnancy or breakdown of the corpus luteum. In other words, it’s the duration between ovulation and your next expected period. In most women who have a 28-day cycle, this period is about 14 days and those with shorter cycles it could be about a week.
Symptoms and Emotions You May Experience during 2WW
Whether you’ve tried getting pregnant with or without fertility medication, the stretch can seem endless before you get your results. To better cope with it, here are some two-week wait symptoms you can expect as you go through this emotional rollercoaster.
- Bloating: During your 2WW phase, one of the first symptoms you will notice is that your jeans getting tighter. Bloating is common during PMS and in the early stages of pregnancy and it’s a bit tricky to distinguish. Triggered by the hormone progesterone, it is definitely something many women experience during this phase.
- Nausea: Hormonal changes are one of the reasons connected to pregnancy-related nausea, however, what causes morning sickness isn’t exactly known. For some, morning sickness won’t hit until 6 weeks into their pregnancy. But if you are trying for a baby, this can be a good sign during your two-week wait.
- Spotting: As soon as the egg is fertilized it begins to develop and move along to implant itself in the uterus. It takes it about 6 to 12 days to get to the uterus, all the while signalling a woman’s body to prepare for pregnancy. Implantation bleeding, also known as spotting, can occur even before you can see a positive on your pregnancy test. 30% of pregnant women notice light spotting during implantation before their expected period.
- Sensitivity to smell: Most pregnant women experience a change in their sense of smell during pregnancy and it can begin as early as their 2WW. Estrogen sensitizes the nostrils to even the faintest odours. It also aggravates their morning sickness.
- Mood swings: This is something all pregnant women experience. Driven by hormone changes, one moment you would be giggling and in the other moment, you will be crying for no apparent reason. Irritability is also quite normal and no amount of talks and discussions with anybody can help, it needs to pass on its own. Although mood swings are common during pregnancy and PMS, many women associate it with one of the earliest signs of pregnancy.
- Increased basal body temperature (BBT): It is the lowest temperature attained by the body as you are resting. It can be roughly measured with a basal thermometer soon after waking up from sleep or just before performing any physical activity. After conception, a woman’s BBT goes up by one degree and stays elevated throughout pregnancy. So if you’ve been tracking your BBT for a while, you can tell if you have conceived during your 2WW period.
- Back pain: Conception immediately puts your body into pregnancy mode and you can begin to feel the differences. The body prepares for some major physical changes with the uterus getting ready to expand. If you experience back pain out of the blue during your 2WW, it could be a sign that you are pregnant.
- Vivid Dreams: When you’re pregnant you tend to sleep more and much of your underlying thoughts and feelings manifest themselves as strange but vivid dreams. It’s observed that women early in their pregnancy dream more about fruits, flowers, gardens, and images of water as the womb fills up with amniotic fluid.
- Constipation: Constipation is common among pregnant women and you can expect it in your two weeks wait period. Although you’ll see more of it later on in your pregnancy, the best way to prevent it is to drink plenty of water and eat fibre-rich foods.
- Aversions toward Food: Some food can make you nauseous while you desperately crave for others. Although it may not show up until you are five weeks pregnant, if you have cravings or aversions for certain foods during your two-week wait, you could be pregnant.
- Frequent Urination: Frequent urination is a good sign of pregnancy as it starts just days after conception. This new urge can begin within 10-14 days due to the pregnancy hormone hCG. The hormone triggers an increase in the blood supply to the uterine wall to nourish the developing embryo. It also increases blood flow to the kidneys to flush out waste from both the mother and baby.
- Fatigue: If you’ve had unprotected sex in the last two weeks and you’re feeling tired and fatigued, there’s a good chance you’re pregnant. Fatigue is one of the earliest signs experienced by pregnant women and within 12-14 days of conception, you may feel fatigued.
- Tenderness in the Breasts: The breasts undergo changes during pregnancy and tenderness is the first sign that is felt even before your hormone test confirms pregnancy. It’s also common for women to experience a change in the size of the breasts early on in the first few weeks.
- Headaches: Pregnancy brings a surge of hormones that can alter blood volume during the first trimester. This means you can experience headaches and even lightheadedness during your wait period. Headaches can also be triggered by stress, fatigue, poor posture and dehydration.
- Cramps: Mild cramping is normal during early stages of pregnancy as the body prepares for your baby. Cramping can also be felt just a few days after conception. Many women report twinges on both sides of the body. There is also concern however that cramping can be a sign of a miscarriage.
2WW After IVF
The two-week wait after an IVF transfer is an emotional time. To some women, it might be one of their most challenging treatments. There are ways to cope and survive your 2WW after IVF and improve your chances of pregnancy. Here are some tips:
- Your two-week wait begins right after your embryo transfer is done. Starting from here avoid any strenuous physical activities such as lifting heavy weights, workouts, hot baths etc. Get your partner to take care of such things and take it easy after your transfer.
- If you can, take the whole two weeks off from work. The embryo takes three or four days to implant after transfer. This is a critical time and stress and anxiety won’t help, so take time off to relax at home. If you can’t get two weeks, take the first seven days off.
- Taking your medication on time is a must. They keep your embryo alive and the environment in your uterus optimal for implantation. Make a chart for the daily doses of medication and tick on it. Also, set reminders on your phone.
- A little bit of spotting or bleeding is fine in your two-week wait. In some women, it is also a sign of implantation. Statistically, it’s more likely that it’s a good sign than not, so try not to worry.
- Blood thinners such as Clexane and low-dose aspirin are known to protect the pregnancy. Get advice from your clinic if you should take it from transfer day or before. They can avoid miscarriage caused by small clots in the blood.
- Eat well and get plenty of rest. Avoid stimulants and alcohol for two weeks. Now is a good time to start on a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, proteins and carbs.
- Try not to test too early or look for pregnancy symptoms, it can lead to anxiety. Also, you can get a false positive or negative after an IVF cycle using your own eggs. Therefore wait for 14 days before your test.
- Avoid sex during your two week wait period. Your uterus can do with less commotion and avoid any infections.
- Don’t panic if you feel cramps or twinges. They are common during the 2WW as your womb is in overdrive. Chances are those feelings mean a successful implantation.
- Have realistic expectations out of the treatment, know what your odds are and accept it. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best.
Tips to Survive the Two Week Wait
The two-week wait phase will obviously hard for you if you are desperate to get pregnant. But, here are some tips that will help you to get through this period:
- Our brains have a natural negative bias that likes to catastrophize; therefore it’s natural to have negative feelings. So as tempting it is to give in, try and focus on the positive bits and remind yourself that there will be more chances.
- Don’t become superstitious. Some women tend to think that if they do certain things, be it religious or not or use good luck charms, it can help them. But it won’t. You can’t will yourself into pregnancy so don’t try anything that might interfere with the process.
- Avoid obsessing over it. Though it is tempting to only talk about your conception to friends and family, try not to do it all the time. It’s also not realistic to stop talking about it all together. Just stay normal.
- Keeping yourself busy is a good way to stop your mind from running wild. Take some time out to relax, get a manicure or go shopping or hang out with your friends. Let nature do its thing.
- You’re not alone in this. Your partner is just as much invested in this as you are. So share your emotional load with him to lighten things up.
- Stay away from a computer and the internet. It can become an obsession to continuously read up on all the things that can go wrong or read on pregnancy signs and worry why you haven’t had them yet.
- Take good care of yourself. Besides thinking positive thoughts, taking a stroll in the park or your garden can help you relax a great deal. Continue with your exercise but keep them gentle. Get plenty of rest and eat wholesome food.
- Allow your feelings to flow. Don’t try to stop that bout of sadness if it passes over you. You need to allow yourself to feel sad now and then so you can clear up the clogged feelings. Trying to suppress them will only make them stronger and worse to deal with later.
- Learn relaxation techniques that you can use a moment’s notice. Yoga, meditation and gentle breathing exercises can help your mind stay calm and clear on a daily basis. More so they can stop you from going into a nervous breakdown while you wait for your test results.
- Defensive pessimism is a great psychological technique. Approaching stressful situations with a lowered expectation about the desired outcome can help lower anxiety and bolster well being. Try keeping your expectations to a minimum and you’ll cut through a lot of negativity.
Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
Even before it shows up on the pregnancy test, many women do feel signs of pregnancy soon after conception. Look for these signs during your two-week wait:
- Your breasts feel tender and swollen. The bra might feel tighter and the breasts feel heavier and fuller.
- Sensitivity and tingling feeling in your nipples. Every time you lay down on your tummy you feel aware of your breasts and some clothing might even feel irritating.
- Frequent urination but not much urine.
- Dysgeusia, it is a metallic taste in the mouth, which can be unpleasant.
- Feeling a bit off, unsettling and queasy in the stomach.
- Enhanced sense of smell.
- You may feel tired all the time especially after lunch and dinner.
- Mood swings and unpredictable emotions.
Even though many women might “know” that they’re pregnant intuitively, they’ll need to wait 14 days to get a positive confirmation of pregnancy.