Two Week Wait

By Angie Best-Boss

When you are trying to become pregnant, the first two weeks of the month are very focused and busy. You take medications, supplements, man the thermometer, and try to determine your ovulation to the second. If you’re doing an IUI or IVF, multiply the chores by 1000. Once you’re in your window of opportunity, your life revolves around introducing your egg to that cute little sperm.

But then comes the wait. The dreaded two week wait. Some folks feel it’s this part of the cycle that’s the toughest. There’s nothing to do. Sure, you can monitor your temperature, but that doesn’t help anything. Other than frantically cataloging every potential symptom and inspecting your toilet paper very carefully, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed during the two week wait.

Why two weeks?

You need to wait for the magical day to test for pregnancy - generally 14 days past ovulation. Very few women actually wait that long and end up wasting test after test every month. All women trying to conceive should buy stock in home pregnancy test companies. It’s the only way to make up for the ridiculous amount of money you waste when trying to become pregnant.

Testing too early is one of the most common reasons for not getting accurate results from a home pregnancy test. They say either “yes” or “no” based on the amount of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) in your urine. Anything above 5 is positive, but home pregnancy tests don't pick up urine HCG until it reaches 20-25. During the first few weeks of pregnancy, HCG levels in a woman's body double every two to three days, which is why the longer you wait, the more likely you are to get an accurate answer. Doctors won’t do the more accurate blood test until you are a week overdue or on day 14 if you’ve had an IUI or IVF.

Definitely pregnancy symptoms…or not

It is a cruel trick of nature that premenstrual symptoms can mimic early pregnancy signs. Try not to put too much stock in early signs. As a general rule, pregnancy symptoms shouldn't start before implantation on day 20-21 but usually don't start until day 26 or later. PMS usually goes away when your bleeding starts or just before/after. Pregnancy symptoms not only continue, but increase in intensity.

Symptoms for both PMS and early pregnancy include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Tiredness
  • Digestive problems
  • Bloasting
  • Cramps/twinges in lower abdomen

For some women, the absence of usual PMS symptoms may be just as telling. For example, Moira explains “I always had a horrible headache two days before I started my period. I could count on it. In fact, I did. I usually marked on my calendar two days before I expected to start so I wouldn’t plan anything additional for that day. I was surprised when it didn’t hit, but even more surprised when the pregnancy test came back positive!”

Some symptoms generally associated with pregnancy and not PMS include:

  • Nausea
  • Food cravings/aversion
  • Prominent blue veins on the breast
  • Frequent urination

Some moms are surprised that symptoms in subsequent pregnancies are not always identical. If you are taking fertility medication like progesterone, your symptoms are even murkier and you will be less able to distinguish which came first.

Implantation Bleeding

If you can pinpoint ovulation, then you know that implantation can take place anywhere from about 5 days to 12 days past ovulation. For about twenty percent of women, implantation bleeding will occur when the fertilized egg implants into the uterus. It is usually lighter in color and amount and generally occurs six to ten days past ovulation. If it is heavy enough to soak a pad, it probably isn’t implantation bleeding.

Take care of yourself

Easier said than done, but Diane Clapp, BSN, RN of RESOLVE offers these suggestions for coping emotionally:

  • Decide with your partner how you want to receive the news about the cycle.
  • Tell your partner what you will need if the news is not positive.
  • Treat yourself by doing things you enjoy the most: going to the movies, visiting with friends, or reading a good book.
  • Protect yourself emotionally. Don’t plan on attending a baby shower the weekend after you expect your test results.
  • Take slow, deep breaths to help you relax.

Just in Case

Take good care of yourself -- eat healthy, drink enough water, sleep well. You’ve already given up caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes, so that part should be easy.

To learn more:

American Pregnancy Association (APA)

The APA is a national health organization committed to promoting reproductive and pregnancy wellness through education, research, advocacy, and community awareness.
1425 Greenway Drive, Suite 440, Irving , Texas 75038
(972) 550-0140


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