If you’re trying to conceive, you’ve likely heard of the anxiety ridden two week wait (TWW). It might have come as a shock to you the first month, that after ovulation and timing intercourse, there are two weeks of uncertainty where you won’t yet know if you’re pregnant or not. Symptoms of pregnancy or an oncoming period can be very similar so you find yourself second-guessing every little feeling. We can’t take the uncertainty away, but we do have some tips for making it a bit more manageable.
What is the two week wait exactly?
The two week wait is the second half of the menstrual cycle or the luteal phase. It’s the time between when you’ve ovulated, to when your next menstrual period would likely start. If you’re trying to conceive, it’s the time between ovulation and finding out if you’re pregnant.
The luteal phase is usually very consistent lasting 14 days, earning it the title of two week wait. After ovulation, the fluid filled sac that released an egg for ovulation then becomes a corpus luteum. This corpus luteum structure produces estrogen but also progesterone, a hormone that isn’t present during the first half of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone helps prepare the uterine lining for the implantation of a fertilized egg. If you’re pregnant, the corpus luteum will continue to procedure progesterone to support your pregnancy. If you aren’t pregnant, the corpus luteum will stop producing hormones and your period will arrive.
For a more in depth review of the menstrual cycle check out: Chapter I: How does the menstrual cycle work?
What can I do to help with the anxiety of waiting?
Getting pregnant should be an exciting time in your life, so then why does it seem so stressful? Part of the anxiety of the two week wait is a lack of control and ability to change the outcome. It can be hard to manage the thoughts of doubt especially after you’ve been trying for a few months. Remember to trust your body and know that it doesn’t usually happen right away and can actually be normal for it to take a year to get pregnant. You can also try out these tips to feel more in control and manage your emotions.
Watching other people post about their pregnancy and newborns can make you feel very alone. Scrolling through photos of other people getting what you want can make you feel hopeless and wonder why it isn’t happening so easily for you. You don’t always know the journey people had to go through to get pregnant and it won’t help to compare yourself to them.
Try designating a specific time of day to look at social media, with time set aside after, to see how you are feeling. It might be helpful to write down your feelings and note if you’re feeling significantly more anxious after your time on social media, then maybe it’s time to cut it out for a bit.
Avoid taking a pregnancy test too early
If you’re pregnant, your body will start by making a small amount of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). When you buy a home pregnancy test, it’s looking to see if it can detect HCG in your urine. HCG continues to rise throughout the beginning of pregnancy making it easier to detect in the urine if you wait until the appropriate time to test.
It’s recommended you wait until the first day of your missed period to take a pregnancy test. It can be very tempting to take a test earlier to end the waiting, but this can lead to false negatives and added anxiety. You might want to wait to buy a pregnancy test until it’s time to take it, to make sure you aren’t tempted to test early. When taken at the right time, home pregnancy tests are thought to be very accurate. Taking it at the right time can help you get a clear answer and save you time second guessing your results.
For more on when to test, check out our blog post: The Best time to take a pregnancy test
Make a plan for sharing your results
Getting pregnant may not go exactly as you plan, but you can control when you think and talk about it. If you’ve told people you’re on this journey, you might want to ask them not to bring it up without you beginning the conversation. This will allow you to spend time with those people and take your mind off things without worrying they may bring it up at any time.
Make a plan for when and how you want to share your pregnancy test results. I’m not talking about your big social media announcement, but your immediate good or bad results. Do you want your partner there getting them at the same moment? If they’re negative, are friends and family going to want to know right away? Setting expectations for those sharing this journey with you can help you focus on yourself and not have to also manage the emotions of others.
Practice self care
Take care of yourself. This will not only help you with the two week wait, but with getting pregnant, carrying a healthy pregnancy, and being a great parent when the time comes. This will look different for everyone but one proven method of stress reduction is meditation.
Meditation can help you create feelings of relaxation and help you manage difficult feelings that may come up. It can help you calm your mind so you feel more in control of racing thoughts. There are many options for getting started like guided meditations, apps and online classes. Start small, with just a few minutes a day if that’s all you can handle. A little will go a long way.
For more tips you can check out our blog post: Hormones and Self Care
Acknowledge there will be a lot of uncertainty
It’s hard to plan for the future when you’re hoping you’ll have a baby in nine months but aren’t sure. Getting pregnant is different for everyone and there’s no exact timeline you can follow. I know it’s easier said than done, but letting go of expectations and timelines from the very start will make the entire journey more enjoyable.
Pearl is here to help you track your hormones to time intercourse before ovulation even occurs. We want to give you back a little bit of control during an uncertain time. We think watching your hormones and knowing your exact ovulation date will put a little excitement back into trying to conceive. We want you to feel like you're doing everything you can to conceive so you rest a little easier during that TWW.