2WW (Two Week Wait) - Symptoms & Tips to Survive This Phase

How to Survive the Two-Week Wait (2WW) Phase

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Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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The two-week wait is a time of anxiety, nervousness, and frustration for a couple who want to hear the good news that they are expecting a baby. The two-week wait phase is simply the time 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 women who are trying to get pregnant might be aware of it well enough. Whether you try for pregnancy naturally or through fertility treatments, you’ll have to wait for 14 days to get to know the results. Read on if you want to know more about the two-week wait phase.

What Is the Two-Week Wait?

The two-week wait refers to the luteal phase of 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 is the duration between ovulation and the next expected period. Most women who tend to have a 28-day cycle, their luteal phase of pregnancy is for about 14 days, which can be quite frustrating for those trying to conceive.

Symptoms and Emotions You May Have During the Two- Week Wait Phase

Whether you’ve tried for pregnancy with or without fertility treatments, the two-week stretch can seem too long. To better cope with it, you should learn about the symptoms of this phase. Here are some symptoms that you can expect during this two-week phase. These are some common symptoms of pregnancy. If you experience these, it could be a sign of pregnancy.

  • Bloating: During your 2WW phase, one of the first symptoms you will experience is bloating. Bloating is common during PMS and in the early stages of pregnancy, and it can be 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 for pregnancy-related nausea. However, what causes morning sickness isn’t exactly known. For some, morning sickness won’t hit until they are 6 weeks into their pregnancy. But if you are trying for a baby and feel nauseated during the two-week wait phase, then it could be a good sign of pregnancy.

A woman nauseated

  • Spotting: As soon as the egg is fertilized it begins to develop and move along to implant itself in the uterus. It takes 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 blue signs on your pregnancy test. About 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 two-week wait phase. Estrogen sensitizes the nostrils to even the faintest odour. It also aggravates morning sickness.

  • Mood swings: This is something all pregnant women experience. Driven by hormonal changes, one moment you may giggle and in the other moment, you may cry for no apparent reason. Irritability is also quite normal and no amount of discussions with anybody can help. Mood swings are common during pregnancy and PMS, but many women consider them as one of the earliest signs of pregnancy.

  • Increased basal body temperature (BBT): BBT is the temperature of the body when you are fully at rest and relaxed. 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 the 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 can immediately put your body into pregnancy mode and you can begin to feel the differences. Your body will prepare itself for some major physical changes that will happen in your uterus to accommodate the baby. If you experience back pain out of the blue during your 2WW, it could be a sign that you are pregnant.

A woman with back pain

  • Vivid dreams: When a woman is pregnant, she may tend to sleep more and much of her underlying thoughts and feelings manifest themselves as strange but vivid dreams.

  • Constipation: Constipation is common among pregnant women and you can expect it in your two weeks wait period. If you are waiting to hear the good news, even being constipated may feel wonderful, as it is one of the symptoms of pregnancy. However, it may trouble you throughout your pregnancy. To combat this problem, drink plenty of water and eat fibre-rich foods.

  • Food aversions: Some foods can make you nauseous while you may desperately crave for others. Although you may not have food aversions until you are five weeks pregnant, if you crave or have aversions for certain foods during your two-week wait, it could be a sign of pregnancy.

  • 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 of pregnancy and within 12-14 days of conception, you may feel fatigued.

  • Tenderness in the breasts: Breasts too undergo changes during pregnancy. If you have tender breasts, it could be a sign of pregnancy. Yes, if you have tender breasts, you might be pregnant. It’s also common for women to experience a change in the size of the breasts early on in the first few weeks.

  • Headaches: The hormonal changes that happen in pregnancy 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 stressfatigue, poor posture, and dehydration.

A woman with a headache

  • Cramps: Mild cramping is normal during the early stages of pregnancy as the body prepares for the foetus. Cramping can also be felt just a few days after conception. Many women report twinges on both sides of the body. There is also a concern however that cramping can be a sign of a miscarriage.

The Two-Week Wait After IVF

The two-week wait after an IVF 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. From this time onwards, avoid any strenuous physical activities such as lifting heavy weights, extensive workouts, hot baths etc. Get your partner to take care of such things and take it easy.
  • If you are working, take the whole two weeks off from work, if you can. The embryo takes three or four days to implant after the 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. Medications can help keep your embryo alive and the environment in your uterus optimal for implantation. Make a chart for the daily doses of medication and don’t skip a single dose. Set reminders on your phone to take your medicines on time.
  • A little bit of spotting or bleeding is fine in your two-week wait. In some women, it is also a sign of implantation. It’s more likely a good sign, so try not to worry.
  • Blood thinners are known to protect the pregnancy. Get advice from your clinic if you should take it from the day of transfer 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, as it will only lead to anxiety. Also, you can get a false positive or negative after an IVF cycle using your own eggs. Hence, waiting for 14 days is recommended.
  • 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 successful implantation.
  • Have realistic expectations out of the treatment, know what your odds are and accept them. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best.

Tips to Survive the Two-Week Wait

The two-week wait will obviously be hard for you if you are desperate to get pregnant. But, here are some tips that will help you get through this period.

  • Take good care of yourself and stay positive. Take a stroll in the park or your garden and just relax. Continue with your exercises, i.e., if you exercise but don’t tire yourself out. 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. Yogameditation and gentle breathing exercises can help your mind stay calm and clear on a daily basis. More so practising these relaxation techniques can stop you from going into a nervous breakdown while you wait for your test results.
  • Defensive pessimism is a great psychological technique which you can try. Approaching stressful situations with little to no expectations about the desired outcome can help lower anxiety and enhance your well-being. Try keeping your expectations to a minimum and you’ll cut through a lot of negativity.
  • 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. Don’t become superstitious. Be patient and practical – if it is meant to happen, it will. Just keep hoping for the best.
  • Although it is tempting to only talk about conception to friends and family, try not to do it all the time. It’s also not realistic to stop talking about it altogether. Try to be calm and patient. We know it is better said than done, but give it a try!
  • Keep yourself busy and by that we mean keep your mind occupied as when your mind will be busy, you won’t think about pregnancy. Take some time out to relax – get a manicure or go shopping or hang out with your friends.
  • Remember that you are 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.
  • Do not spend a lot of time using your computer and the internet. It can become an obsession to continuously read up on all the things that can go wrong. So it’s better to not use the internet. Do not worry yourself for no reason!

 A woman taking rest

Signs and Symptoms of Early Pregnancy

Many women feel signs of pregnancy soon after conception, even before a pregnancy test confirms it. If you are anxious, look for these signs during your two-week wait phase and hope for the best.

  • Tender and swollen breasts. If you do conceive, your bra might feel tighter and the breasts may feel heavier and fuller.
  • Sensitivity and tingling feeling in your nipples. Every time you lie down on your tummy, you might feel aware of your breasts and some clothing might even feel irritating.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Dysgeusia, which is described as having a metallic taste in the mouth.
  • Feeling a bit off, unsettling, and queasy in the stomach.
  • Enhanced sense of smell.
  • Feeling tired all the time, especially after lunch and dinner.
  • Mood swings and unpredictable emotions.

Some women experience the signs of pregnancy in their two-week wait phase, but others may not. If you don’t experience the common symptoms of pregnancy in the two weeks’ time, wait and don’t get anxious. If you have waited for too long, these 14 days will pass too, don’t you stress yourself out. Wait for it and you’ll soon get the good news!

Also Read: How Many Times to Have Sex in a Day to Get Pregnant?

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Aarohi Achwal holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and a master’s degree in English Literature. While working as an intern for an English daily, she realised that she likes writing above anything else. The idea of being heard without having to speak appeals to her. She likes to write research-based articles that are informative and relevant. She has written articles on pregnancy, parenting, and relationships. And she would like to continue creating content on health and lifestyle.