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

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

Medically Reviewed By
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.

What Foods Should You Eat And Avoid During The Two-Week Wait?

The two-week wait can be a nerve-wracking time for women who are trying to conceive. While there’s no magical diet that will guarantee a successful pregnancy, there are some foods you might want to avoid and others you might want to include in your diet to support your fertility and overall health.

Firstly, let’s talk about what to avoid. You may want to steer clear of alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods as they can negatively impact fertility. It’s also wise to limit your intake of sugar and simple carbohydrates, which can cause insulin spikes that may interfere with ovulation.

On the other hand, incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your diet can be beneficial. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help support your body’s reproductive functions. Additionally, healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and chia seeds may help improve fertility.

It’s essential to stay hydrated during this time, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Herbal teas like peppermint or chamomile can be a great alternative to coffee and may even help you relax.

Of course, it’s also essential to listen to your body and honor your cravings. If you’re feeling nauseous or have food aversions, don’t force yourself to eat something that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Remember, there’s no need to stress too much about your diet during the two-week wait. Focus on eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and avoiding any foods that may negatively impact your fertility. Keep calm and carry on with your healthy habits!

Foods To Eat During the 2-Week Wait

So you’re in the dreaded two-week wait, waiting to find out if you’re pregnant. You’re probably feeling anxious, stressed, and wondering what you can do to improve your chances of conceiving. Well, one thing you can control is what you eat! Here are some tasty and nutritious foods that you should try to include in your diet during the two-week wait:

1. Lean protein – Chicken, fish, and turkey are great sources of lean protein that can help boost your fertility. They provide the necessary amino acids your body needs to build healthy eggs and sperm.

2. Leafy greens – Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are packed with vitamins and minerals, including folate, which is essential for healthy fetal development. Plus, they’re low in calories, so you can eat as much as you want without worrying about your waistline.

3. Berries – Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are not only delicious but also rich in antioxidants, which can help protect your eggs and sperm from damage.

4. Whole grains – Brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates, which can help regulate your blood sugar levels and provide sustained energy throughout the day.

5. Nuts and seeds – Almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds are great sources of healthy fats, fiber, and protein, which can help support your hormonal balance and overall fertility.

So, load up your plate with these nutritious foods during the two-week wait. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated!

Foods To Avoid During the 2-Week Wait

Ah, the dreaded two-week wait! As if the stress of trying to conceive wasn’t enough, now we have to worry about what we eat too? Well, unfortunately, it’s true. There are certain foods you should avoid during this period to increase your chances of success.

  • First and foremost, say goodbye to that extra cup of coffee or your daily energy drink. Yes, we know it’s tough, but caffeine can have a negative impact on your fertility, so it’s best to avoid it altogether.
  • Next up, processed foods and refined sugar. Sorry, no more candy bars or fast food meals for a while. Stick to whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Your body will thank you for the extra nutrients, and it might just help you conceive too!
  • Lastly, limit your alcohol intake or, if possible, eliminate it completely during the two-week wait. We know it’s not the most fun option, but alcohol can have a significant impact on your hormone levels, making it harder to conceive.

Remember, every little bit helps when it comes to fertility. By making these dietary changes during the two-week wait, you’re giving your body the best chance possible to conceive.

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!
  • Keep yourself occupied with work, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones. A busy mind is less likely to dwell on the wait.
  • Surround yourself with positivity and optimistic energy. Avoid negative news, social media, and people who may bring you down. Focus on things that make you happy and bring you joy.
  • Reach out to your partner, friends, or family members for emotional support. Consider joining an online support group or talking to a fertility counselor. It can be helpful to talk to others who have gone through a similar experience.
  • Hope for the best. Often positive thoughts lead to great results, so devote some time to thinking and hoping for favorable results and manifesting positivity. 

 A woman taking rest

What Should You Not Do During The Two-Week Wait?

The two-week wait (TWW) can be an anxious time for couples trying to conceive. During this time, it’s essential to be extra mindful of what you do to ensure the best chances of getting pregnant. Here are some things to avoid during the TWW to keep your spirits high and your baby-making goals on track.

1. Don’t Stress Yourself Out

Stress can make it harder to conceive, so it’s best to avoid anything that might cause unnecessary tension.
Take a break from work or social media, meditate, or indulge in some relaxation techniques to help calm your nerves.

2. Don’t Overdo the Exercise

While exercise is good for your overall health and well-being, excessive exercise can be harmful to your fertility. Take it easy during the TWW and avoid rigorous workouts or any physical activity that might cause too much strain on your body.

3. Don’t Ignore Your Diet

Your diet plays a crucial role in your fertility, so make sure to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid junk food and sugary snacks, and opt for nutrient-dense foods that can boost your fertility.

4. Don’t Obsess Over Symptoms

It’s natural to feel curious and anxious during the TWW, but obsessing over every little symptom can make things worse. Stay away from online forums or message boards and focus on things that make you happy and calm. Remember that each pregnancy is different, and symptoms can vary from person to person.

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.

FAQs

1. When Should I Take a Pregnancy Test After IVF?

Ah, the age-old question that plagues us all during the dreaded two-week wait after IVF – when can I take a pregnancy test? Well, my friend, the answer isn’t as simple as we’d like it to be. While some people may be tempted to take a test as soon as they get home from their embryo transfer (I mean, who wouldn’t want to know ASAP?), it’s best to wait at least 10-14 days after the transfer to get the most accurate result. Your body needs time to produce enough of the pregnancy hormone, hCG, for it to show up on a test. So, as hard as it may be, try to distract yourself with some Netflix binge-watching or a new hobby until you reach that 10-14 day mark. And remember, no matter what the result is, you’re a warrior for going through the IVF process in the first place.

2. Is It Normal To Have A Swollen Belly During The 2-Week Wait?

Ah, the two-week wait, a time of endless speculation and constant Googling. So, is it normal to have a swollen belly during this time? Well, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s body is different and experiences can vary. While some women may experience bloating and a swollen belly during the two-week wait, others may not. However, it’s worth noting that hormonal changes and the medications used during IVF can cause bloating and other digestive issues, so a swollen belly could be a possible side effect. But if you’re concerned or experiencing discomfort, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor to rule out any other potential causes.

3. Is It Safe To Travel During The 2-Week Wait?

Traveling during the two-week wait can be a bit of a tricky situation. While there is no harm in taking a short trip, it is generally advised to avoid long-haul flights or traveling to remote destinations. The two-week wait ivf is a crucial time for both natural and IVF pregnancies, and the body needs all the rest it can get. Additionally, traveling can be stressful and may impact your emotional well-being during this sensitive time. If you must travel, make sure to plan ahead, keep yourself well-hydrated and comfortable, and avoid strenuous activities. Always consult with your doctor beforehand, and follow their advice to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

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 over the two-week wait for pregnancy? Wait for it and you’ll soon get the good news!

References/Resources:

1. American Pregnancy Association, Coping with Infertility: Tips for Dealing with the Two-Week Wait, https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/infertility/coping-with-infertility/, 2019

2. American Pregnancy Association, Foods to Avoid When Trying to Get Pregnant, https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/foods-to-avoid-during-pregnancy/, 2022

3. American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Coping with Infertility, https://www.asrm.org/topics/topics-index/infertility/

4. Cleveland Clinic, Infertility: Coping with the Two-Week Wait, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16083-infertility, 2021

5. Harvard Health Publishing, Fertility and diet: Is there a connection?, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/fertility-and-diet-is-there-a-connection-2018053113949, 2019

6. Mayo Clinic, Infertility: Coping and Support, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infertility/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354322, 2021

7. TRIO Fertility, Coping with the Two-Week Wait: TRIO’s Experts Offer Medical, Emotional, and Lifestyle Strategies, https://triofertility.com/coping-with-the-two-week-wait-trios-experts-offer-medical-emotional-and-lifestyle-strategies/, n.d.

8.National Library of Medicine, The relationship between stress and infertility, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6016043/

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

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