The 2-Week Wait
When a woman undergoes in vitro fertilization (IVF), the embryo is transferred at the mid-way point of the cycle. From there, the embryo must implant in the uterus, establish a blood connection with the mom, and start producing human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG). Although some pregnancy tests can detect HCG earlier, fertility doctors usually recommend waiting 2 weeks after transfer before testing for pregnancy.
Patience is key
For many women facing infertility, the 2-week wait (TWW) can be the hardest part. The hormone injections are over, the embryo has been implanted, and the thought of a healthy baby is almost in sight. However, patience is critical during this time. Most doctors will recommend testing for pregnancy 14 days after transfer. Here are 3 things that can be done during the wait.
1. Keep stress low
Although the research isn’t conclusive, stress may negatively affect fertility. One recent study found women experiencing higher stress levels had lower conception rates. During the TWW, women should focus on decreasing stress however possible. Yoga, meditation, and acupuncture are all great ways to decompress. Women can also benefit from speaking with a therapist if the stress starts interfering with everyday life.
2. Make healthy choices
A prenatal vitamin should ideally be started before fertility treatment. However, taking the vitamin during the 2-week wait is even more imperative. The most crucial component of prenatal vitamin is folic acid, a B vitamin proven to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. The neural tube is one of the first parts of the baby to form, so getting enough folic acid right before organ formation starts is very important. Alcohol should also be avoided during the wait. Although no major dietary changes need to be made for most, selecting healthy foods that make the body feel good can be helpful.
3. Only listen to your doctor
Women who have tried to get pregnant know even the most minor symptom can trigger excitement. Tender or swollen breasts, nausea, increased urination, and fatigue are some of the most common early pregnancy symptoms. However, these symptoms have many other causes completely unrelated to a baby on the way. Try not to spend too much time overthinking everything, as this can increase stress. Instead, follow the doctor’s instructions and wait until a pregnancy test can be done to confirm. Serious symptoms such as significant bleeding and cramping should be addressed right away.
Time flies when you’re having fun
Although there are many unknowns during the 2-week wait, many women benefit from thinking about this time optimistically. A long-awaited baby could be on the way in just a few short days. After the embryo is transferred, women should focus on reducing stress, staying healthy, and not overthinking symptoms.