When you are trying to have a baby, the immediate days and weeks before you are due to menstruate can provoke a lot of anxiety, as you wait to see if your period comes or if you might be pregnant. These feelings are particularly heightened for women who have just undergone embryo transfer, as part of IVF. It’s a long two weeks when you are waiting to see if the embryo that was placed in your womb has managed to attach itself to the wall of your uterus and establish a pregnancy. After investing so much effort physically, emotionally and financially into your treatment cycle, it’s not unusual to find this 2-week waiting period hard.
Women often place extra pressure on themselves during this time to do ‘the right thing’, and can become overwhelmed by the volume of good-meaning information and advice available on the Internet and from family or friends. The most important thing you can do during these two weeks is to be kind to yourself. Try to keep your life as routine as possible while allowing some extra time for self-care. This is a vulnerable time, so listen to what your body needs (e.g. rest), do things that make you feel good (e.g. have a massage, see friends, go to the movies, bake a cake, etc.), and plan times in your week without any commitments.
While different coping strategies will work best for different people, here are a few ideas you might like to try:
Newlife IVF has a dedicated team of specially trained counsellors who offer 1:1 consultations throughout your treatment journey, as well as peer group sessions if you want to connect with others undergoing a similar journey. Call (03) 8080 8933 for session dates and times.
IVF warrior playlist by Lisa Dickinson (Spotify)
Fertility meditations: imagery and visualisations for IVF by Jackie Brown (Spotify)
Bigfatnegative: infertility, IVF and the trials of trying for baby (UK podcast series)
Allow yourself to experience your emotions, rather than trying to block them. For example, during this waiting period people often think about the implications of a negative pregnancy (hCG) test, and begin to experience some sadness in anticipation of this possibility. There is no evidence to suggest that allowing yourself to feel sad from time to time will interfere with your chances of conceiving. Rather, it encourages the healthy expression of emotions and can actually help to reduce any tension you may be holding in your body.
For people who benefit from yoga, guided meditation or assisted relaxation, there are several free resources available (see below) that specifically focus on helping women to cope with the ‘two week wait’. Generally speaking, any strategy that assists you to gently bring your thoughts and attention back to the present moment, can help to allay any worrying thoughts you may be experiencing.
5 fertility poses for the two week wait by Bettina Rae (YouTube)
IVF relax (app)
Ease: Mindfulness & Meditation (app)
This seems odd but there are some research studies suggesting that women who engage in activities after embryo transfer that inject humour, such as watching funny TV programs or movies, are more likely to have success. This speaks to the mind-body connection. When you are laughing, you are less likely to be highly stressed. So click on your Netflix, Stan or other preferred streaming service and pick something to watch that will give you a good ol’ hearty chuckle! If you need some inspiration, check out this list of feel-good films.
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