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Tips to survive the 2 Week Wait

21. 7. 2016 - Denisa Francis

The two week wait is the time between embryo transfer and finding out whether you are pregnant. This part of the cycle that involves waiting to hear the "news" may be exhausting and agonising and it is not unusual to feel a bit isolated and insecure, as after all those doctor’s appointments, consultations, scans and tests, there is nothing you can do but wait. Each day you may be monitoring your body for signs of early pregnancy or for signs that you feel may mean your menstrual bleeding will soon begin. For many women it is like being on a rollercoaster of hope and fear. You may consider the following tips to help you cope better.

  • Have a support – either from your partner or someone in the family or a friend who is optimistic and positive. But try to limit the number of people you tell about your cycle and let them know how you will share the outcome of the cycle. Some couples tell their family and friends, "No news is bad news," to eliminate the need to call them with bad news. Many women find internet IVF forums a great source of help.
  • Make sure you rest – after the transfer have a few day’s rest if possible. You do not have to stay in bed but try to relax, watch movies, listen to music, curl up on the sofa and read a book, enjoy a lovely meal. It may be helpful to take some time off work. It may not work for every woman and some women prefer to get back to work straight away as concentrating on tasks at work may help to take their mind off the treatment but for women whose jobs are very stressful or physically demanding is better to go away on a short holiday or just enjoy a few days of having fun and giving themselves a bit of nurturing.
  • Keep yourself busy, have fun. Distraction is very important during this period of time. Enjoy life.
  • Talk to your partner about your feelings. Support for one another is extremely important in making sure that you are mentally and emotionally in the right space. Sometimes it can be very hard on your relationship with each other so don’t be afraid to seek professional help of a fertility counsellor.
  • Be aware of the internet. Be careful not to spend the whole two weeks online reading about other women’s experiences and searching for information on signs of positive or negative outcomes of fertility treatments. Too much time online can lead to too much obsessing. Too much obsessing can make two weeks feel like two months. Monitor your online usage and catch yourself if you start to meander onto too many two-week-wait websites.
  • Write your thoughts in a journal. You can write your thoughts down throughout the day as they pop up. Or you can do it once a day on regular basis - put all the things that are turning over and over in your mind down on paper and out of your head.
  • Use relaxation techniques, book a session of hypnotherapy with positive visualisation. Try meditation and mindfullness. Take slow, deep breaths when you are feeling anxious. These techniques can assist you physiologically, as  well as being mentally calming.
  • Try to be happy about the present and let the future simply unfold. Acknowledge the fact that there isn’t anything else you could or should have done and be kind to yourself.

Common Questions and Answers

Is spotting normal after embryo transfer?
If you start to have vaginal spotting or light bleeding, don't panic. It is possible to be pregnant and spot as well. Some women are more prone to bleeding. The bleeding may be cause by the embryo embedding into the endometrium ( the so called „implantation bleed“ ). Rest as much as you can and in case you have any concerns call your local clinic.

Does it mean I'm pregnant if I have symptoms of pregnancy?
Some of the early physical signs of pregnancy such as breast tenderness, bloating, tiredness and nauzea can also be caused by the drugs you are taking, such as progesterone. Symptoms of pregnancy can come and go in some women. You may feel very pregnant one day and feel nothing the next day.

Am I allowed to swim and exercise post transfer?
It is better to take it easy and avoid exercise as some types of exercise can elevate your body temperature and pulse rate excessively. Gentle walking is fine.

You should also avoid swimming after embryo transfer as it is best to avoid the chemicals in the water. The same applies to baths, saunas and jacuzzis. Excessive heat may damage the embryos and the moisture and warmth may icrease the risk of infection.

Is it OK to drink coffee and have an occasional glass of wine?
It is better to avoid drinking coffee on a regular basis due to the caffeine content. You can still enjoy a mug of coffee every now and then, even when pregnant. Just make sure that you don't have more than 200mg of caffeine in a day. That's two mugs of instant coffee or one mug of brewed coffee. Remember to also count teas (including green tea), coca cola, energy drinks and chocolate. Drinking more than 200mg of caffeine a day when pregnant increases a risk of miscarriage.

No alcohol should be consumed after embryo transfer.

Should I avoid sexual intercourse?
It is recommended to avoid sexual intercourse until you get your pregnancy test result.

Will using a home pregnancy test be accurate?
The most accurate test is the blood test. It provides accurate information about the level of HCG in your blood so it is more effective. Research has shown that home (urine) pregnancy tests do not always spot pregnancy early.