Through the timed intercourse, tracked ovulation and countless fertility methods, here you are waiting to take a pregnancy test. You are in the dreaded two-week wait and the wondering is killing you.
It seems simply amazing that two weeks each cycle can be the most stressful time in a woman’s life.
Since elevated stress levels may prevent conception through hormone disruption, doesn’t it seem practical to find ways to improve your two-week wait, thereby increasing your chance of successful implantation and pregnancy?!
These 6 practical tips are going to help you make your two-week wait the most inviting for baby and more enjoyable for you.
1. Eat to support healthy hormone levels and to nourish a healthy uterine lining.
Think fiber to promote healthy estrogen metabolism and digestion. Foods like ground flax seeds, dark leafy green vegetables like kale, collard or beet greens, whole grains and soaked seeds and nuts. Get about 28 grams of fiber a day.
Next consider superfoods that have been shown to support hormonal balance overall. Maca (Lepidium meyenii), Goji berries (Lycium barbarum, L. chinensis), coconut oil, and cod liver oil. Another way to support hormonal balance is to support liver health with two very safe and nourishing liver herbs – Burdock root (Arctium lappa) and Dandelion leaf and root (Taraxacum officinale).
Create and support a rich uterine lining by eating blood nourishing foods and pregnancy-safe herbs. Grass fed meats, cage-free roaming eggs, salmon, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, quinoa, spirulina, and hijiki seaweed are all iron-rich blood building foods. Herbs we love are Nettles (Urtica dioica), Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa), and Red raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus) infusion and/or Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus) extract.
Consider eating foods that support warmth. As progesterone levels rise, so does your temperature, as you can see in your BBT chart. A warm womb is an inviting womb. Think soups and stews, or adding some warming herbs to foods such as cayenne, ginger or cinnamon.
Then, eat a slice of fresh pineapple with it’s core. Pineapple core contains bromelain, an anti-inflammatory protease enzyme. According to the holistic health experts at Blossom Clinic (a holistic medicine clinic specializing in fertility and prenatal care), “Conception and implantation require an intricate shift in the immune system, specifically a shift from TH1 immune cells to TH2. Basically, this means conception requires an anti-inflammatory shift. It is possible that bromelain helps with this shift which allows implantation to occur…”
2. Note changes in your body, but be realistic with expectations.
I see it time and time again, women in the two-week wait with high expectations. The thing about expectations, they are deeply filled with emotions and when they aren’t met, the floodgates open. This creates a situation in which stress hormones – aadrenaline and cortisol- are at a higher level, which is a signal to your body to prevent conception from happening. Too much cortisol can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. It is like a siren going off, “Now is not the time to get pregnant, I need to put my focus elsewhere.”
The most common obsessions for women in the two-week wait are all about a real lack of patience. Yes, there may be signs of implantation, such as a rising BBT, or some slight spotting, or symptoms of early pregnancy such as nausea, feeling more tired than usual, and cramping, but these symptoms are also very common during the luteal phase, as estrogen drops off, progesterone increases and, for some women, PMS kicks in.
Ask these questions of yourself:
- How is knowing if I am pregnant sooner than my expected menstruation beneficial to me?
- Does noting every slight change in my body during the two-week wait make me feel good or does it make me worry about the outcome? Notice how your body feels when you note these changes. Are you holding tension anywhere?
Remember, it is vital to be realistic during your two-week wait. Rather than focusing on each little sign or symptom of pregnancy, focus on nourishing, nurturing and cultivating patience in your life. See #5 for more information on how you can do this.
3. Hold off on taking a pregnancy test until the right time.
Can you believe you are anxious for two weeks out of every month? Early pregnancy test manufacturers want to relieve that anxiety by helping you detect if you are pregnant before your next period begins.
Pregnancy tests detect human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG for short). In the first few weeks after implantation hCG levels double every 48-72 hours. This means that the level of hCG in pregnant women goes from nearly nothing to a lot in just a few days’ time. At 7-10 days after ovulation, a pregnant woman’s hCG levels will be up to 50 mIU/ml. Find a pregnancy test that can detect a level as low as 25mIU/ml.
You can begin to test at 7-10 days past ovulation. This means you need to be tracking ovulation. If the test comes back negative while testing this early, know it may be a false negative due to very low hCG levels. It may be due to late ovulation. Wait 3 days and then test again. An early negative can also lead to feelings of sadness and depression. So, even though you can test this early, it may be best to wait longer, that way you will give the placenta more time to raise hCG levels.
4. Avoid certain natural therapies, supplements, and herbs.
To encourage implantation, certain natural therapies that manipulate the uterus should be avoided. This includes Self Fertility Massage, Castor Oil Packs, Radiant Womb therapeutic oil, and Maya abdominal massage. All of these are fine prior to ovulation. Acupuncture is encouraged.
Most all herbs are fine to continue during the two-week wait. It is best to continue on with an herbal program (if you are on one) until pregnancy is confirmed. After that, you will want to learn how to safely discontinue herbs in early pregnancy by clicking here…
Most nutritional supplements are safe to continue until pregnancy is confirmed. Continuing a prenatal vitamin is vital to a healthy pregnancy and will provide your body with enough folic acid to support proper development of your baby and its spinal column in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Learn which supplements you should and should not continue into pregnancy here…
If you are using natural progesterone cream, you will most definitely want to continue using it through the two-week wait. If you suddenly stop using it, this may signal your body to miscarry due to a sudden drop in progesterone levels. You can learn more about continuing progesterone cream into pregnancy by clicking here…
5. Move slowly, rest more, nest and nurture yourself.
You deserve it! Note how you are feeling during the two-week wait. Rather than focusing on symptoms you associate with early pregnancy or PMS, notice where in your body you are holding tension. You will notice you may be clenching your jaw, stomach, or holding your shoulders higher. These are all signs of held stress. Taking time to nurture your body is going to help reduce stress and help you focus on creating a healthy environment for baby.
- Take naps and go to bed earlier. Elevated progesterone levels make you sleepier, so sleep more.
- If you love to exercise, downshift. Swap running or spin class for fertility yoga and brisk walks.
- Nest. This means nesting for your womb with the suggestions under #1 and actually making your home environment more inviting for yourself.
- Nurture yourself, get a massage, book a lunch outing, hot springs soak or easy hike with your besties. Avoid big outings, stay close to home.
6. Trust and believe in your body.
If you carry doubt, shame or emotional baggage about your body and its ability to carry to term, how can you expect to get pregnant? Be open and receptive to change your thought patterns about yourself and what you believe about what you deserve in life. Negative thought patterns shut down healthy circulation, while altering hormonal balance. This doesn’t create a healthy situation for conception, implantation and pregnancy.
This topic was brought to light in a recent 2018 post on Romper [Bustle Digital Group’s website for millennial parents, written by millennial parents]. Dr. Kecia Gaither, physician in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, shared, ‘”There are particular proteins on the uterine lining that facilitate the embryo attaching itself, so to speak, in a normal fashion,” Gaither says. “Additionally, there needs to be an adequate blood supply available within the uterine site, which will allow the developing embryo to obtain oxygen and nutrients. So in cases on stress, where the release of substances like cortisol and epinephrine are had, certain blood flow is altered which can, theoretically, interfere with normal implantation.”’
How can any woman expect to invite a new life in and expect it to stay if she doesn’t believe her first home for her baby [her body] is a fabulous place to be?
Danish researchers concluded in a 2015 meta-analysis of 39 studies including 2746 men and women that “psychosocial interventions for couples in treatment for infertility, in particular CBT [cognitive behavioral therapy], could be efficacious, both in reducing psychological distress and in improving clinical pregnancy rates.” The studies assessed the benefit of CBT and various mind-body interventions for those with infertility stress, symptoms of depression, anxiety, or who were struggling in their marriage, as well as how they influenced pregnancy rates.
Affirmations, Circle + Bloom mind body programs, Emotional Freedom Technique, meditation, counseling and journaling can help you to deprogram old beliefs about yourself and upload new, positive ways to think about your inner self and body.
The best way to cultivate patience in the two-week wait is to be proactive in changing how you think and feel about yourself and your body! Trust and patience don’t happen overnight, so be gentle on yourself as you begin to shift how you approach and move through your two-week wait.
- Hartsoch, J. (n.d.). How Early Can You Take a Pregnancy Test? Retrieved from http://www.early-pregnancy-tests.com/early-pregnancy-test.html
- Ganger, C. (Mar 2 2018). Can Stress Affect Implantation? Here’s What Science Has To Say. Retrieved from: https://www.romper.com/p/can-stress-affect-implantation-heres-what-science-has-to-say-8141598
- Frederiksen Y, Farver-Vestergaard I, Skovgård NG, et al. (2015). Efficacy of psychosocial interventions for psychological and pregnancy outcomes in infertile women and men: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 5:e006592. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006592. Retrieved from: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/1/e006592
- Pineapple and IVF Success- It’s all about Embryo Implantation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.blossomclinic.net/2013/05/30/pineapple-and-ivf-embryo-implantation-ivf-success/