The two-week wait….
The two-week wait is the period from the time of insemination or embryo transfer until the pregnancy test. It is not always 2 weeks because it depends on what treatment was carried out: for insemination the wait is usually two weeks but for embryo transfer the wait is a few days shorter.
Patients often say that this is the most stressful time of their fertility treatment. They say it is a time of feeling lonely, anxious, stressed or even like being on an emotional roller coaster. Many times patients look for support through Facebook groups, chat rooms and different websites. Lots of women chose these sites more often than expressing their hopes and fears to their families and friends because they feel other women in the same situation will understand them better. They should remember that they are going through this entire process with their partner and they need to give each other mutual support through the procedure. They need to try and put themselves in each other’s shoes and try and see how their partner feels.
Women often ask their doctor if they can carry out all the activities they normally undertake while waiting for the pregnancy test day. I like to tell my patients to go ahead with their lives but not to exert themselves too much physically- not because it is bad, but because women tend to blame themselves if they do not get pregnant- so if they are very active, or do strenuous sports, some women think that is the reason they did not get pregnant.
Women have a tendency to listen to their bodies during this time and with any little change, pain or new feeling they wonder if that means they are pregnant. The problem with these feelings is that in general the symptoms for a period are about the same as the little changes a pregnancy causes. These changes can be encouraging or discouraging but almost always stressful for the woman. We get a lot of calls during the two-week wait telling us of feeling bloated, having breast pain or pelvic discomfort.
Psychologists say that it is important to try and remain calm. This does not mean that what the patient should do is keep telling herself that the test will be positive. She should try to be in an emotional state that will help her accept any outcome. If the result is positive we are all happy and we tell the patient to make an appointment 10 days or so after a positive test and continue with the same medication. If the result is negative, we tell the patient to stop the medication and usually suggest that the patient come in a week or so later for consultation. That way we have a chance to review the case and the patient has time to digest the bad news.
If the pressure is too much for the patient during the wait, the best thing to do is to seek professional support to get through the days. A psychologist can give patients the necessary tools to be prepared for the news, no matter what it is.