8 Things You Should and Shouldn’t Do During the TWW
If you’re trying to conceive (TTC), you’re probably deeply familiar with the two-week wait (TWW). Remaining patient during the TWW is important, but easier said than done.
During this stressful and nerve-wracking time, it can be tempting to over-analyze your body for signs of potential pregnancy or take a pregnancy test earlier than you should. Understanding what to expect during the TWW can help you stay calm despite the excitement.
Many women wonder what they should and shouldn’t do during the TWW if they want to increase their chances of a successful pregnancy. Keep reading to find out — and to help your TWW pass quickly and easily!
What Does TWW Mean?
The TWW, or “two-week wait,” is the two-week period after ovulation leading up to your next expected period. After conception, it takes approximately two weeks for the pregnancy hormone hCG to rise high enough for a pregnancy test to detect it — hence the TWW.
If you are TTC, the first day of your next expected period is the earliest day you should take a pregnancy test to learn if your efforts have been successful. Taking a pregnancy test too early could mean a false-positive or false-negative result.
When you’re TTC, two weeks can feel like forever to wait and you’ll likely find yourself looking out for any potential signs of pregnancy during the TWW.
The symptoms of early pregnancy differ in the first and second weeks of the TWW. In the first week of the TWW — zero to seven days past ovulation (DPO) — you may experience:
- Breast tenderness
- Food cravings
- Headaches and body aches
Around days seven to 10 of the TWW, a pregnant woman’s body will begin to produce the pregnancy hormone hCG. This hormone is responsible for many of the most noticeable changes of early pregnancy.
Around this time, you may also experience light implantation bleeding. Approximately one-third of women who are pregnant see some spotting during implantation, the period when the fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining.
In addition to implantation bleeding, by the second week of the TWW — eight to 14 days DPO — you might experience:
- Morning sickness
- Darkened nipples
- Food cravings
- Increased hunger
- More frequent urination
- Sensitivity to smells
All of these changes owe to slowly rising levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG during early pregnancy. As hCG levels rise, you may find that these symptoms become more noticeable over time.
What Happens to Your Hormones During the TWW?
The hormonal changes that occur in your body during the TWW depend on whether or not you are pregnant. One important hormone, progesterone, is produced by the corpus luteum, the remains of the follicle that released a mature egg during ovulation.
If an egg is not fertilized during ovulation, progesterone levels will rise, thanks to the corpus luteum. After about 10 days, a woman who has not conceived will gradually stop producing progesterone. This decrease in progesterone levels signals to your body that it is time to start your monthly period.
However, if you are pregnant, your body will continue to produce progesterone after 10 DPO. Levels of estrogen and hCG will also gradually rise. All of these hormones work together during pregnancy to provide nutrients to and support the growing baby — and to produce the symptoms you might notice toward the end of the TWW.
Symptoms can give you some idea if you might be pregnant, but they can also be similar to those you experience during PMS. The best way to know if you are pregnant is to monitor changes in your hormone levels. The Mira Fertility Tracker can analyze your exact fertility hormone concentrations for a more precise indication of whether or not you are pregnant.
What Happens to Your Body During the TWW?
It’s difficult not to pay attention to every little twinge in your body during the TWW and wonder, “Could this be a sign of early pregnancy?” Symptoms like bloating, breast tenderness, food cravings, and headaches can occur during PMS or early pregnancy, leaving you confused by your symptoms and eager to take a pregnancy test.
Some of the TWW symptoms that are unique to early pregnancy are morning sickness, darkening nipples, and sensitivity to smells. It’s especially important to note that “morning sickness,” despite the name, can occur at any time of day — so if you’re nauseous or throwing up at night, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have food poisoning.
A normal period doesn’t usually cause nausea or vomiting, so these symptoms — assuming you are not sick — are a good sign when you are TTC! Likewise, you probably won’t experience nipple changes or sensitivity to smells due to PMS. In addition to sensitivity to smells, some women also experience changes in their sense of taste, such as a metallic taste in the mouth.
How Can I Cope with TTC Anxiety During the Two-Week Wait?
Excitement and anxiety are closely related — and it’s normal to experience both during the TWW. You might feel eager to take a pregnancy test or nervous that you weren’t successful in conceiving. All of these emotions are natural, so it’s important to make space for them on your fertility journey.
You might feel tempted to obsessively check your body for signs of pregnancy or spend hours in a spiral of Google searches about early pregnancy. However, worrying about whether or not you are pregnant is likely to make you feel worse instead of better. If you are pregnant, the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby’s health is to relax. Resist the urge to obsess and, instead, distract yourself with the activities you love to do to help yourself unwind!
Many women, especially if they struggle with infertility, feel like they will not be good enough or will be a failure if they are unable to conceive. It’s important to have someone you can share these worries with on your fertility journey, whether that is your partner, a family member, a friend, or even a therapist. Talking about what you are feeling can be one of the best ways to cope with TTC anxiety and you do not need to keep your emotions bottled up inside.
What Can I Do During the Two-Week Wait?
The TWW may only last 14 days, but it can feel like a decade. But, as the old saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun!” If you keep yourself busy during the TWW, you might find that those 14 days pass more quickly and easily.
So, what can you (safely) do during the TWW that won’t harm any potential baby that could be coming? Here are some ideas for how to spend your TWW, other than worrying about your pregnancy.
1. Do The Things You Enjoy Most
If you are about to have a baby, your life is about to change forever. Many of those changes will be good, but motherhood will likely also mean that you have less time to yourself to do the things you love. Hence, the TWW is the perfect time to practice self-care. You may not have much time for hobbies (or even eating or sleeping!) after you have a baby, so make sure to take every opportunity you can to unwind with a favorite activity while you can.
2. Do Moderate Exercise
Exercising during the TWW benefits you in more ways than one. Not only does it help keep your body healthy in preparation for pregnancy, but it is also a powerful stress-reliever. The TWW is the perfect time to hit the gym, lace up your running shoes, or get out on your yoga mat. Whatever type of exercise you enjoy the most, spend time doing it now while it is still safe to do so. Later in pregnancy, you will have restrictions on the type of activity you can do.
3. Do Relaxation Techniques
Have we mentioned that the TWW can be stressful? One of the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety is to practice relaxation techniques. Techniques like meditation and yoga don’t require any equipment (you don’t even need a yoga mat) or expertise to learn. You can follow along with guided meditations or yoga videos for free on YouTube to reap the benefits of relaxation. There are even videos created especially for women who are on their fertility journey — check out some of our favorites here and here.
4. Consult with Your Doctor If You Have Any Questions
When you find yourself with downtime during the TWW, you’ll probably find yourself dwelling on questions about fertility, conception, and pregnancy. Instead of obsessing over the questions that may be bothering you, take the opportunity to make an appointment with your OB/GYN. Resist the urge to consult Dr. Google — instead, write down all those questions and make an appointment with your doc where you can ask them all at once.
5. Talk to Your Partner About Your Feelings
There is always at least one other person who understands what you are going through: your partner! Your partner is on this fertility journey with you. Chances are, they have just as many fears, worries, and questions as you do. The most important thing you can do during the TWW is to connect with and support each other along the way. A strong relationship is the foundation of good parenthood, and you can’t have a strong relationship without taking the time to communicate your emotions to one another.
6. Find Support From People Who Will Understand You
Parenthood is a journey that can be difficult to understand if you have not been through it yourself. Other parents “get it” — and they may have valuable advice to offer about pregnancy and everything that comes afterward. You can connect with friends who have kids, other friends who may be TTC, or even your own parents about what they went through when trying to have you. There are even online support groups for connecting with other new moms during the digital age.
What Do I Need to Avoid During the TWW?
If you’re in the TWW, chances are that you’re already stressed out. Making the wrong moves could lead to more unnecessary anxiety leading up to your next expected period. Avoid these two critical mistakes to help your TWW run smoothly, without compounding your worries.
1. Don’t Get Obsessed Over Taking Pregnancy Tests
When you’re TTC, it’s understandable that you want to know if you’re pregnant as soon as possible — but as exciting as this time is, taking a pregnancy test too early could lead to unnecessary disappointment. False-positive and false-negative results are not uncommon if you take a test before the TWW is up.
For example, you might get a false-positive from a chemical pregnancy — a type of early miscarriage — or a false-negative because your hCG levels are not high enough to detect yet. The best way to ensure the results of your pregnancy test are accurate is to wait the full two weeks. It sucks, but it’s true.
2. Don’t Share News About Your Cycle With Many People
Ultimately, the decision to share information about your fertility journey is a personal one. It’s up to you how many people you want to tell — but it may be a good idea to refrain from announcing your pregnancy too soon.
Even if a pregnancy test comes out positive or you’re experiencing symptoms of early pregnancy, it’s too soon to know for sure whether you are pregnant until the TWW is up. Avoid the awkwardness and disappointment of retracting a pregnancy announcement by refraining from sharing the big news until it’s certain. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t open up to friends and family about what you’re going through, but be selective about who you choose to talk to about your experience.
✔️ Medically Reviewed by Dr Roohi Jeelani, MD, FACOG and Lauren Grimm, MA
Dr Roohi Jeelani is Director of Research and Education at Vios Fertility Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Dr Jeelani earned her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Portsmouth, Dominica. She then completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Wayne State University, Detroit Medical Center, where she was awarded a Women’s Reproductive Health NIH K12 Research Grant. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr Jeelani has authored numerous articles and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals, and presented her research at national and international scientific meetings. A Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr Jeelani is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists.
Lauren Grimm is Research Coordinator at Vios Fertility Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago, where she also completed her masters in Medical Sciences. Lauren has worked alongside Dr. Jeelani for the last 3 years, authoring a number of abstracts and articles in peer-reviewed journals, and presented her research at national and international scientific conferences. Lauren will be continuing her education this fall at Rush University Medical College in Chicago, IL as an MD candidate.
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