How to get through the two week wait?!

It seems simply amazing that two weeks each cycle can be the most stressful time in a woman’s life when they are trying for a baby.

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?!

Here are some practical tips to help you make your two week wait the most inviting for baby and more enjoyable for you.

Acupuncture can help implantation, ease anxiety and promote relaxation.

1.      Have some Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment to have during the two week wait. It can help support implantation in the 1st week after ovulation and also help to support you emotionally, to ease anxiety and promote relaxation.

If you are undergoing assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF/IUI…

Acupuncture and Embryo Transfer Research (1) trials shows that fertility acupuncture before embryo transfer and acupuncture after embryo transfer may improve pregnancy rates by up to 65%.

Acupuncture during this time is highly recommended by many fertility clinics. Two acupuncture treatments are recommended in the two week wait, approx. 5 and 10 days after transfer.

Please contact me for further info on Acupuncture treatments.

2.      Eat to support healthy hormone levels and to nourish a healthy uterine lining

Think fibre to promote healthy estrogen metabolism and digestion. Foods like ground flax seeds, dark leafy green vegetables like kale & spinach, beetroots, whole grains and soaked seeds and nuts.

Next consider superfoods that have been shown to support hormonal balance overall. Maca, goji berries, coconut oil, and cod liver oil. Another way to support hormonal balance is to support liver health with a two very safe and nourishing liver herbs – Burdock root and Dandelion leaf and root.

Create and support a rich uterine lining by eating blood nourishing foods and pregnancy safe herbs. Grass fed meats, free range eggs, salmon, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, quinoa, spirulina and seaweed are all iron-rich blood building foods. Herbal teas which are great are nettle and  raspberry leaf. 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 & cinnamon.

3.      Note changes in your body, but be realistic with expectations.

Women in the two week wait have 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 are at a higher level, which is a signal to your body to prevent conception from happening. 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 are all about a real lack of patience. Yes, there may be signs of implantation, such as a rising temperature, 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.

4.      Hold off on taking a pregnancy test until the right time.

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. If you must test early 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.


5.      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 & abdominal massage & castor oil packs. All of these are fine prior to ovulation.

If you have been taking herbs or have been seeing a herbalist 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 consult your herbalist and discontinue some herbs in early pregnancy.

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.

Contact me to discuss which supplements you should continue with and ones that you should stop when you have a positive pregnancy result.

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.

6.      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 you is going to help reduce stress and help you focus on creating a healthy environment for baby.

  • Take naps and go to be earlier. Elevated progesterone levels make you sleepier, so sleep more.
  • If you love to exercise, down shift. Swap running or spin class for yoga and brisk walks.
  • Nest. This means nesting for your womb with the suggestions above and actually making your home environment more inviting for yourself.
  • Nurture yourself, get a gentle massage, book a lunch outing or an easy walk with your friends. Avoid big outings, stay close to home.

7.      Trust and believe in your body.

If you carry doubt, shame or emotional baggage surrounding 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. 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?

Affirmations, meditation, counselling 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 doesn’t happen overnight, so be gentle on yourself as you begin to shift how you approach and move through your two week wait.


(1) Acupuncture and Embryo Transfer Improves Pregnancy Success Rates

“Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy” by Paulus W et al, Fertility and Sterility 2002 Vol 77, pg 721-724

In this study, 160 patients who were undergoing ART and who had good quality embryos were divided into the following two groups through random selection:

80 women had acupuncture before embryo transfer and acupuncture after embryo transfer whilst 80 women had embryo transfer without acupuncture.

The results showed clinical pregnancies documented in 34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture and embryo transfer group, whereas pregnancy rate was only 26.3% (21 out of 80 patients) in the control group.

“Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis”,by Manheaimer E et al, British Medical Journal 2008, pg 336-545

In this study, that combined the results of seven trials involving 1,366 women in an attempt to provide a clearer picture of the benefits of acupuncture for embryo transfer.

They found that, looking at all the research together, women who underwent acupuncture were 65% more likely to have a successful embryo transfer compared with those who underwent a “sham” version of the treatment, or had no extra treatment at all. (BBC, 2008)

Acupuncture Improves IVF Pregnancy Rates and Live Births

“Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis”,by Manheaimer E et al, British Medical Journal 2008, pg 336-545

This same study concluded that current preliminary evidence suggests that acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing IVF.

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