This post was written in tandem with my post on 5 Tips For Staying Sane During the Two-Week Wait (TWW). If you have already read that post, you can skip the introduction sections below and go straight to the 5 TWW Pitfalls section.
What is the Two-Week Wait (TWW)?
For many women, the notorious “two-week wait” (TWW) can feel more like two months! If you’re not familiar with the term, the TWW is the timeframe between ovulation and when you would expect your next period to start. During this time, you have already passed the window of potential conception and are anxiously awaiting a possibly positive pregnancy test!
Why is the TWW so tough?
These two weeks are so exciting and full of anticipation, but they can also be stressful and seem to drag on for eternity. Your mind might fill with questions like:
- Was the egg successfully fertilized?
- What is happening in my body?
- Is this symptom I’m having a sign of pregnancy?
- Is there anything I’m doing that could inadvertently prevent implantation?
- When can I start testing for pregnancy?
- Should I feel hopeful or brace myself for disappointment?
Most experts say it is perfectly normal for healthy, fertile couples to take up to a year or even longer to get pregnant. With this in mind, it is important to try to stay as calm and patient as possible during these two weeks each month and to try to embrace the TTC journey, but that can be easier said than done!
Before I get into my five tips for staying sane during the TWW, I want to emphasis that each person approaches the TTC process and its accompanying emotions differently. You may very well prefer a different mindset than what I am recommending! My hope is that these tips simply give you some potential ideas to consider. I would love to hear your personal experiences as well as any additional tips you’ve used. Please share them via the comment box below!
5 TWW Pitfalls
Engaging in the activities below during the TWW can be counterproductive and debilitating. These “traps” can be easy to fall into, but however tempting they are, they’re not worth sacrificing your sanity for!
1. Tracking or obsessing over symptoms:
The very sad and disappointing truth is that PMS symptoms and pregnancy symptoms are SO SIMILAR. It can be very hard to tell them apart. While some women claim to have very early pregnancy symptoms, that is actually less common than you would think. (It’s important to note here that I am not a doctor and am speaking from extensive research.)
During your luteal phase each month (the time between ovulation and the first day of your next period), your body operates under the assumption that it is pregnant until it realizes you’re not, and then your period starts. Many of the PMS symptoms you experience leading up to your period each month (even in non-TTC cycles) are due to the hormone progesterone. Progesterone helps support implantation and the development of an embryo and is present whether you are pregnant or not. What can be especially confusing is that the increase in this hormone can manifest differently for each person and can even manifest differently between cycles for a given person. Very sneaky, right?
It’s also important to note that you are naturally much more in tune with your body during the luteal phase when you are TTC because you are on the lookout for anything different and hoping for a sign that you are pregnant. You may think you’re noticing a new symptom, but it is very possible that you actually have that symptom every month and are just now noticing it.
You may be tempted to obsess over and meticulously track every symptom you have during the TWW – every twinge, every sneeze, everything and get especially excited when a new symptom shows up. “This is the first month I’ve had this symptom! That must mean I’m pregnant!” The problem with this is, as I mentioned above, many symptoms you’re feeling this early are actually due to high levels of progesterone, which are present whether you are pregnant or not. Please do not fall into this trap! The added stress, obsession, and uncertainty from tracking and documenting TWW symptoms prior to confirming pregnancy is not worth it.
2. Making plans:
One of the most exciting things about potentially being pregnant is thinking about how everything will play out in the coming weeks and months if you are. What will your baby’s due date be? How and when will you tell your family and friends? This can be really fun to think about, but as you make hypothetical plans, they can begin to feel like confirmed plans.
The truth is, you will have plenty of time to think about due dates and announcement ideas after you confirm you are pregnant. If you are set on thinking about announcement plans while still TTC, I would personally suggest limiting it to ideas you can use any time of the year and not something that is dependent upon getting pregnant during a particular month. Saving the plan-making for after confirming pregnancy will help prevent you from getting attached to becoming pregnant THIS month and also give you yet another thing to look forward to once you become pregnant!
However, one legitimate reason for calculating potential due dates would be if you are trying to avoid your baby being due at a specific time of the year. For example, maybe it’s very important to you to not have a baby around Christmas, and your baby’s due date would be December 25th. Or, maybe you have unavoidable plans to be out of the country when your baby would be due, and you would not feel safe traveling around that time or giving birth in another country. In these cases, you may decide you’d rather hold off on TTC this month and pick back up next month.
I would just caution against letting this become a habit to where you are skipping several months here and there in hopes of achieving your “ideal due date.” Pregnancy is, by nature, very hard to plan for, and if it’s important to you to get pregnant quickly, you will likely want to take advantage of as many opportunities to get pregnant as is reasonably possible.
3. Testing early:
Ohhhh, the temptation! You may want to find out you’re pregnant at the EARLIEST possible moment and not a second later. This can be extremely tricky. Most sources say that implantation usually occurs 6-12 days past ovulation (DPO) and that it can take 2-5 days after implantation to get a faint positive result on a pregnancy test.
What can be especially confusing and disheartening is that you will hear of women who got a BFP (big fat positive) at as early as 6 DPO. Many women might take that to believe they aren’t pregnant if they get a negative result at 6 DPO or even at 12 DPO. But, if you go back to what most sources say, it’s very possible to not get a positive pregnancy test until around 15 DPO or later.
Fertility Friend has gathered some surprising data around the relationship between DPO and positive pregnancy tests. They found that the average DPO for the first positive pregnancy test is 13.6 DPO (way later than all those 6-10 DPO BFP’s you may have heard about). Check out Fertility Friend’s findings here. Countdown to Pregnancy has also published some interesting pregnancy test statistics by DPO and by brand. It lets you search by your DPO and/or pregnancy test brand of choice to give you an idea of your chances of seeing a BFP if you are in fact pregnant. Check out Countdown to Pregnancy’s statistics here.
For many women, it is easier on the emotions and sanity if you hold off from testing until AFTER your period is due (or as long as possible, at least). However, if you are not able to wait until your missed period and do decide to test early, I would highly recommend using the First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test. It is known for being one of the most sensitive pregnancy tests out there, so it is more likely to give you an early positive result if you are in fact pregnant.
4. Watching pregnancy shows or vlogs:
There are so many great shows and videos out there about TTC and women finding out they’re pregnant. While these can be very informative, it can be a bit of a slippery slope. You run the risk of getting completely sucked into it and spending hours watching videos of pregnancy test results, TWW symptoms leading to pregnancy, and more. Doing this may actually cause you to become more obsessed and worried.
Many women report that watching these videos would end up just causing them to think something was wrong with them. For example, if you watch videos of women who got pregnant the first, second, or even third month of trying because you think it will give you hope that pregnancy can happen quickly, it may actually end up making you concerned that you have already surpassed that timeframe. Or, if you watch videos of women who have been struggling with infertility for years thinking it would make you feel better that you’re not at that point, it may actually end up convincing you that you will find yourself in that same boat soon enough.
It is a wonderful thing to educate yourself about your body and how to improve your chances of getting pregnant! Just remember to limit your attention to the resources that are positive and constructive and that truly educate you and benefit you in some way. Take everything else with a grain of salt because everyone is different, experiences vary widely, and you are on a unique path and journey!
5. Overthinking every mistake:
It is perfectly natural to want to be careful with your body after ovulation and potential fertilization. It’s also perfectly natural to be concerned about something you did during the TWW and wonder if it has adversely affected your chances of pregnancy. Whether you accidentally ate deli meat or forgot to take your prenatal, you may find yourself regretting certain actions or inactions (however innocent).
While it is very smart to be careful, try to avoid obsessing over any one activity or mistake. Just remember, women accidentally get pregnant all the time while living their normal (and sometimes, not so safe or healthy) lives. Your body is amazingly strong and resilient, and it will lock in that pregnancy when the time is right!
If this is a pitfall you struggle with, let this serve as encouragement to be forgiving toward yourself and to try to keep things in perspective. Trust that your body can overcome any slight hiccups. Take reasonable precautions during the TWW, but don’t let yourself stress over every little thing you wish you had done differently.
When you want a baby more than anything (whether it’s your first, third, or tenth), it can be so hard not to obsess over every detail of the process! It is my sincere hope that avoiding these five things can be useful to you in staying sane during the TWW! Remember to focus on activities and mindsets that keep you happy, healthy, and calm. Take care of yourself, and don’t stop living your life while you wait for those two beautiful lines on a pregnancy test. Although, I truly hope you see them very soon!
If you’re also wondering what things you SHOULD do during the TWW, check out my post on 5 Tips For Staying Sane During the Two-Week Wait (TWW).
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