The term ‘two week wait’ is often used to describe the time period between ovulation and your next expected period, after which is the most accurate time to take a pregnancy test to put your mind at rest. For many people, the two week wait is a time filled with high emotions ranging from hope and excitement for what might be, to stress or anxiety for fear of the alternative. Up until now you’ve been focused on trying to do everything right to optimise your chance of pregnancy, but frustratingly there’s little you can control during these next two weeks.
Our fertility coach, Kate Davies, has put together some top tips for coping with the two week wait. We know that these won’t take away all of the stress you may be feeling, but they might just make this time a little more bearable.
Keep yourself busy
During the two week wait, it’s easy to find yourself clock watching, counting down the days until you can take a test. However, we all know that if you focus on it too much, time seems to drag on twice as slowly as usual. Try to distract yourself and speed the process up by doing something you enjoy, or completing a task you’ve been putting off for a while now. Whether this is by yourself, with your partner, or with good friends, look for something that will give you a sense of accomplishment, or simply something fun. You could host a dinner party, plan a weekend away, try a new exercise class or finally clear out your wardrobe! Whilst getting pregnant may be your ultimate goal right now, it’s important to make sure that any other ambitions and aspects of your life do not get put on hold. Whatever you choose to do, try to be present, put your phone away and let yourself get lost in it for a while.
Don't test too early
Pregnancy tests work by detecting a hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG, which starts to be produced around 6 days after fertilisation. If you take a pregnancy test too early, the levels of hCG may be too low to be detected and the pregnancy test will give a false negative result, causing you unnecessary upset. You may be itching to test early, but try to resist. Ideally, you should wait until the first day of your next expected period to take a pregnancy test, however some tests can detect pregnancy up to 6 days before your period is due. Discover our guide to pregnancy tests to learn more about what to look for when choosing the right test for you.
Make plans for a negative test
It is normal to worry about what will happen if, after the two week wait, your pregnancy test is not positive. Instead of letting these worries rule over you, try to channel them into some positive action. Plan activities that will serve as a distraction. You know yourself better than anyone, so make plans according to what you think you will need the most at that moment. For example, if it’s support and company from others, organise something with friends. If it’s a quiet night in with your partner, plan something nice for just the two of you.
Schedule time to acknowledge your anxiousness
Despite best intentions, it can be difficult during the two week wait to not obsess over potential pregnancy symptoms, taking note of every small physical and mental change you might feel. Whilst some women experience light bleeding 1 or 2 weeks after conception, known as implantation bleeding, it is unlikely at this very early stage that you would begin to experience other pregnancy symptoms.
We encourage you to resist the urge to consult Dr. Google, and take any feelings of change with a pinch of salt. However, we understand it’s easier said than done to simply switch off from thinking of ‘what ifs’. It may sound odd, but try scheduling time for this. If you do feel the urge to act on your anxious thoughts and you simply can’t ignore it, allow yourself 15 minutes that day to go over your calendar to re-assure yourself of the days until you can take a pregnancy test. Visit fertility forums, read fertility blogs, but for 15 minutes only. Allow yourself to think about it, but don’t let it rule over your whole day.
Do some mindset preparation before the two week wait
Whilst we hope you embark upon the two week wait with an excited and positive outlook, it’s important to know that it’s okay to have days where you feel anxious or stressed. We know that it’s very difficult to be your own cheerleader in the moment, when negative feelings are at their peak. Sometime before the two week has begun, when you feel in the right mindset, come up with some positive affirmations or even write a letter to yourself to come back to on a bad day. Be kind to yourself, and include a reminder that you’re doing your best.
Alternatively, some people find meditation and mindfulness very helpful in moments of stress or anxiety. If this is something you may be interested in, Mind UK has a great resource for mindfulness for beginners - https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/mindfulness/mindfulness-exercises-tips/
Seek support from someone who understands
Many people experiencing struggles with fertility often feel isolated and like no one understands what they’re going through. Whilst everyone is unique and no two fertility journeys are the same, the two week wait is a shared experience for everyone who is trying to conceive. As well as your nearest and dearest, consider reaching out to support groups such as Fertility Network UK to speak to other people in your position.