For IVF patients, the 2-week wait is the time between your embryo transfer and when you can get an accurate pregnancy test result to find out if your IVF worked. Either your embryo is attaching to your uterus and starting to grow – or it’s not.
Some of us are good at waiting; Most of us are not. As a patient, at this point you’ve done your part and now it’s primarily up to nature. But there are some things you can do to help your embryo along and certainly some things to avoid. Here are some helpful hints to get through the wait.
Let’s start with the clinical side
- Put nothing in your vagina for 1 week. The one exception, any medication your doctor prescribed like Estrace. Otherwise, no baths, hot tubs or swimming pools for one week. Refrain from sex and self-pleasuring as well. A desk job is fine but please take it easy in all regards. After the first week, you can go back to your more regular activity level. Just don’t overdo it and no heavy lifting. Please, let someone else put your suitcase in the overhead bin.
- Take your prescribed medications. If you’ve been prescribed progesterone, take it like a religion. If you remember nothing else, remember to do that. Progesterone supports the growth of your embryo. Take it until your fertility doctor tells you to stop.
- Also complete your antibiotic prescription as well as your methylprednisolone script, if that’s what you’ve been prescribed. Set up reminders on your phone or with Alexa or however you remember appointments. Your mind is going to be all over the place, so set up back reminders.
- No Aspirin except one baby Aspirin a day, if it was prescribed. Avoid other over the counter meds like ADVIL, MOTRIN, IBUPROPHEN, NUPRIN, ALEVE, ANAPROX etc. Do not take any meds you have not already discussed with your nurse or M.D. Call your fertility office if you are thinking about taking another med for any reason.
- Do continue all your prescribed ongoing medications like Metformin, Heparin, and Thyroid meds.
- Do take your prenatal vitamins.
- Call if you have any bleeding or cramping and let your fertility clinic decide if it is significant. There’s no need to worry alone. These symptoms can be a good sign and they do happen frequently.
- Remember Progesterone can make your breasts sore and cause your uterus to feel a little crampy – so all the things that feel like early pregnancy indications but may not be. You will have to wait the 14 days to know for sure.
- Come in for a blood pregnancy test in 14 days, whether or not you think you’re pregnant. A blood test is the most accurate and may give us more information than just a positive or negative from a home pregnancy test.
Now for the emotional side
- Keep active. They used to prescribe bedrest for this timeframe but not anymore. In fact, studies have shown that success increases for those not on bedrest. If you have a desk job, do it to keep your mind occupied. Do the things you love to do – just don’t do any heavy lifting or extreme exercise. Take it easy for a week then walks and mild exercise are fine. Get outside and enjoy the day.
- Don’t stress about stress. It’s stressful to go through infertility and even more stressful to go through treatments and IVF but how much you stress out will not affect your chances of implantation. So go ahead and feel but then focus on the good things, like how brave you are to be going through this.
- Limit your exposure to negative people and focus on people who lift you up. Screen your phone calls. Find people going through what you’re going through. Join a support group online.
- Remember your embryo cannot Fall Out of your uterus, even if you go over a really big pothole. Your uterus is not hollow like balloon. It is snugged in there tight even if you jump up and down.
- Eat healthy. Steer clear of caffeine, chocolate and all alcohol, raw meats, sushi and raw shellfish and take your vitamins. Eat like you are already pregnant and eating for two. At this early stage, it really won’t do much harm either way, but it is good practice.
- Spotting and bleeding. These can be good signs so try to stay optimistic. We mention this in both clinical and emotional sections because it can be alarming to patients. But remember, the embryo can cause bleeding when it implants. And cramping can also occur post treatment. So breathe through it. It doesn’t mean your treatment went one way or another. Call your and let them decide if it is significant.
- Pamper yourself. You are going through a lot and that deserves a reward. Buy yourself a lucky charm or get your hair done. Reward yourself for your courage.
- Plan a date night with your partner or a friend for the night of your pregnancy test results. You can celebrate if it’s positive or drink liquor if it’s negative. Limit your exposure to friends and family on that evening. You’ll want to plan next steps either way.
- Wait to do a pregnancy test until the prescribed time. Doing it too early will only give you a result you can’t trust and there’s no point in that. So test on the right day to get the most accurate result. And come in for a blood test when scheduled.
- Schedule a session with a life coach, therapist, or acupuncturist or all three. Talking through your emotions with a professional can be life-saving and rewarding. They can help adjust your perspective and give you a boost of positivity. Acupuncture can remove stress and some practitioners focus on fertility and preparing your body to welcome a pregnancy. So schedule sessions pre and post implantation for best results.
Keep a journal to document what you’re going through. You’re a fertility warrior fighting for what you want and that’s brave. Write your feelings out and document them – even if it’s just for you.
We’re here to help and to answer our patients’ questions. Overlake Reproductive Health 425-646-4700.