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From the foods you can eat to the exercises you can try, figuring out what to do during TWW (two week wait) can weigh heavily on a hopeful parent’s mind.
No matter how you’re trying to conceive, from tracking ovulation to using donor eggs, the two week wait is a pivotal part of the process. It’s the time when your body is working hard to take a single egg and sperm and turn them into a baby.
You might find yourself considering various questions about what you can and can’t do during this period…I know I did.
Is drinking during the two week wait okay?
Should I exercise during the two week wait?
Are there any foods to avoid during the two week wait?
What if I don’t have any symptoms at all; does that mean it didn’t work?
The list goes on and on.
If you’re wondering what to do or what not to do during the TWW, we’re here to help. Our team is breaking down the most common questions to focus on before you take a pregnancy test.
Whether you want to know if you can run a marathon, or you wonder if a glass of wine at the end of the day is okay, we’ve got you covered!
What is the Two Week Wait?
After ovulation and possible conception, everyone must endure the dreaded two week wait. The two week wait (TWW) is the seemingly endless period before it’s possible to take a pregnancy test and know whether your hard work trying to conceive paid off.
While many of us wish a one week pregnancy test (or even earlier) would provide the answers we’re looking for, the unfortunate truth is that it probably won’t.
After fertilization occurs, your body won’t start producing hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) until the developing embryo implants into your uterus. hCG is the pregnancy hormone that triggers a positive pregnancy test. We like hCG!
So, until there’s an appropriate level of this hormone in your body, you risk a false negative by testing too soon. We know it’s hard to wait to test, but save yourself the money and the heartbreak of false results!
By 10-14 days post ovulation, you’ll have a higher chance of getting accurate results.
What to Do During the TWW: The Basics
Okay, so here’s the deal: I regret to inform you that there’s not always a clear set of guidelines to follow during the TWW.
HOWEVER, when it comes to knowing what to do during the TWW, there are a few basic things to keep in mind:
- Listen to Your Doctor’s Instructions: The best advice we can offer you is to pay attention to any information your doctor provides (if you’re seeing a doctor to try and conceive, that is.) If there’s anything particular they want you to try or steer clear of, they’ll let you know. If they don’t offer specific suggestions, it never hurts to ask.
- Take it Easy: For me, I always worried about overdoing it during my two week wait. Like I said before, there’s not much you can do to “mess up” your chances of conceiving, but it doesn’t hurt to relax (easier said than done, we know!) while waiting to test.
- Practice Self-Care: This one goes along with taking it easy. Do whatever you can to take care of yourself during the two week wait. Whether that’s eating a healthy diet, being pampered, or taking an extra nap during the day, don’t be afraid to treat yourself!
Drinking During the Two Week Wait… Can You Do It?
As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to what not to do during the two week wait, you should try and avoid anything you wouldn’t do if you were pregnant.
After all, post-ovulation you’re PUPO – pregnant until proven otherwise!
So, what are we talking about?
Well, for starters, that nightly cocktail is a general no-go.
Whether you’ve received a positive pregnancy test or not, if you’re actively trying to conceive, there’s a chance you might be expecting after ovulation occurs. If you’re not allowed to consume alcohol while pregnant, you should also abstain during the two-week wait.
Can You Keep Working Out During the TWW?
If you already have a regular workout routine in place, there’s no reason to discontinue exercise during the two week wait.
Alternatively, if you’re not someone who already works out, the two-week wait is probably not the best time to start.
Now, don’t get me wrong, if you want to take a walk or do a relaxing yoga routine, you likely won’t experience any problems. In fact, gentle exercise is a great stress management technique to help you overcome anxiety when waiting to take a test.
Avoiding exercise during the two-week wait if you’re not already an active person means staying away from rigorous workout routines that might be too stressful on your body.
We know you’re likely climbing the walls waiting on the moment you can take a pregnancy test, but please try and avoid randomly signing up for activities you haven’t been doing pre-TWW, mkay? Pop in those earbuds and take a walk around your neighborhood instead.
Is It Okay to Get Acupuncture?
Using acupuncture for fertility is becoming more commonplace among hopeful parents. Some people get concerned, however, that this type of treatment is no longer safe after ovulation takes place.
Well, I’m happy to say, not only is acupuncture okay during the TWW, but it can be a great way to support your body throughout implantation.
Studies prove that acupuncture is a reliable tool for enhancing uterine health. It promotes a healthy uterine lining, making it easier for developing embryos to implant into your uterus.
Keep in mind that there are particular points that practitioners shouldn’t use during pregnancy. Make sure your provider knows you could be expecting so they will avoid these. And always talk to your own healthcare provider before beginning acupuncture during the TWW.
What to Eat (and What to Avoid) During the Two Week Wait
Along with alcohol, there are certain foods to avoid during the two week wait. Since doctors often advise pregnant women to stay away from particular foods and ingredients, it’s wise to abide by these guidelines before taking a test, as well.
Some foods you should avoid during the two week wait include:
- Seafood with High Mercury Levels, i.e., Bigeye Tuna, Shark, Swordfish, and King Mackeral
- Soft Cheese, like Brie and Feta
- Sushi and Other Raw Fish
- Hot Dogs and Lunch Meat
- Raw or Undercooked Eggs
You should also thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating them and avoid unpasteurized food products.
Can Certain Foods Increase Your Chances of Pregnancy?
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a magic set of steps to ensure a positive pregnancy test? Like what if eating certain foods during the two week wait could guarantee conception?
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
That doesn’t mean that foods can’t increase your chances of getting pregnant naturally. As a matter of fact, if you check out any list of TTC tips, you’ll probably find a list of food suggestions.
For example, many people believe there’s a connection between pineapple and implantation success.
Other popular foods to eat during the two week wait include:
- Whole Grains
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
- Lean Proteins
Some experts also tout the Mediterranean Diet as an ideal combination of foods for fertility success. As long as you’re avoiding alcohol and any of the no-go foods we mentioned earlier, AND you have your doctor’s approval, it can’t hurt to try some of these healthy foods!
Does Stress Affect Pregnancy Success During the 2WW?
When you’ve put so much physical, mental, and financial effort into having a baby, sitting with the thought that it may not work is a devastating reality. This is the main reason the TWW is so damn stressful. What’s crucial, however, is trying not to let your emotions get the best of you.
Research shows high levels of stress can negatively impact implantation and pregnancy success.
Finding ways to manage stress during this trying period is essential to avoid possible issues. Some simple techniques are:
- Gentle Exercise
- Yoga or Meditation
- Date Nights
- Taking Up a New Hobby or Enjoying an Old One
- Communicating with Friends and Family
- Breathing Exercises
Stress and infertility or conception struggles often go hand-in-hand. There is no shame in experiencing mental health challenges while trying to get pregnant.
What’s important is ensuring you’re seeking the help you need and deserve.
If utilizing stress management techniques like these isn’t working and your mental health is becoming an issue, don’t be afraid to make an appointment with your doctor and/or therapist.
The Two Week Wait and No Symptoms – What Does it Mean?
As you navigate the complicated reality of the two week wait, it’s normal to look for any physical signs something is going on inside your body.
But what if you don’t feel anything at all? Does that mean conception failed?
While some of us experience early signs of pregnancy in the first two weeks, this doesn’t apply to everyone. Some lucky mamas barely have any side effects throughout their entire first trimester!
This doesn’t mean you’re dealing with a non-viable pregnancy, though.
Everybody experiences pregnancy differently. Some people are like me and seem to feel every little thing happening inside their bodies. Others might skate through the early months of pregnancy symptom-free.
Try not to stress about what you are or aren’t feeling during the two-week wait.
Just because you feel normal, this is no indicator that conception didn’t work. Do your best to relax and wait until it’s time to test before you make any judgments about the success of your experience.
Don’t Fret About What to Do During the TWW
With such significant matters at play, the instinct might be to stress about pregnancy outcomes during the two week wait. Unfortunately, worrying is the definition of what not to do during the two week wait.
No matter how taxing those two weeks can seem, try your best to stay positive and keep your focus on the things you can control, like deciding to avoid drinking during the two week wait or practicing more gentle yoga.
I know those fourteen days can feel like a lifetime, but trust me, they’ll eventually come to an end. And when they do, you can grab the nearest pregnancy test and pee all over it!
Did you struggle to figure out what to do during the TWW? How did you manage the stress?
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.