By Bernadette Dabbs, Triskele Life Coaching (originally published on the Triskele Life Coaching website)
Bernadette offers mindfulness-based coaching and specialises in programmes for women at any stage of their fertility journey. You can read more about her here. Below she shares her top mind, body and spirit tips on coping with the two week wait.
The day of embryo transfer is also the beginning of the two week wait, which is the time it takes from embryo transfer to taking a pregnancy test. During this time your emotions may feel like a rollercoaster, going from the joy and excitement of having a successful embryo transfer, to the fear and apprehension of waiting to see the results of your pregnancy test. The two week wait can feel less daunting if you allow yourself time to focus on preparing your mind, body and spirit for the outcome.
Eliminate all stress from your life during these two weeks. If possible take the full two weeks off work; I recommend a minimum of 5 days.
During the two weeks spend time each day reading, writing, watching programmes and films you enjoy, meditate, pray. Keep your mind busy in a positive way and in a way that feels comfortable for you.
Acknowledge the emotions that you are feeling, they are all totally natural and just. However, also be aware that if your emotions are having a negative impact on you, choose something positive to do to refocus your mind.
Choose your company wisely during these two weeks. Spend time with family and friends who you know will show you love, care and respect your privacy during this time.
You and your partner may find it helpful to come up with a stress eliminating codeword to use during the two weeks. You can use this codeword if a situation or a conversation becomes too stressful for you to continue: just say your word and it's a signal to your partner to stop instantly. (A codeword that makes you both laugh is a good idea, as this will instantly relax you, so choose your word carefully!)
When negativity creeps in, acknowledge that thought, but then cancel it out with a positive thought until it disappears.
Dare to imagine what the future may hold for you and imagine living that life.
Embryo implantation takes place three of four days after transfer, so it's crucial to look after yourself before this time, to ensure that implantation is successful, and afterwards, as the embryo settles into the lining of your uterus.
Try to relax as much as you can during the first few days, sit with your feet up and preferably have all of your meals cooked for you too!
No exercise at all during the two week wait, gentle walks are fine, but avoid rigorous exercise and lifting heavy objects.
You must avoid doing housework, no shopping, and no cleaning. You need to rest and spend time doing activities that relax you.
Avoid hot baths - it might seem like a good way to relax, but you don’t want your uterus to overheat.
Avoid sex immediately after embryo transfer as infections can happen.
Eat a well balanced diet with an even mix of vegetables, fruit, pulses, carbohydrates and proteins.
Avoid spending too long in bed: the latest research says prolonged bed rest post-transfer will not improve your pregnancy chances and might make them worse.
Continue to take your medication. This will help to ensure that your uterus is in optimum condition for carrying the pregnancy.
Spotting and bleeding can happen in the two week wait – and beyond. Try not to worry: it’s statistically more likely to be okay than not. Talk to your clinic if you are concerned at any time.
If you are religious and you feel comfortable calling on your faith at this time, try to make time every day to practice your beliefs, so that they become a strength in your life.
Make time to experience awe and wonder every day – take a walk in nature or listen to music that moves you.
Practice gratitude every single day. List the things that you are grateful for and the people you are grateful for in your life - and don’t forget to include your embryo on that list!
Think positively about your little embryo, try to imagine all the growing that it is doing during this time. Physical signs of this, such as twinges and cramps are common during the two week wait. Talk to your clinic if you are concerned at any time.
As tempting as it is, don’t take a pregnancy test early, as it will not be able to give you an accurate reading and could lead to unnecessary disappointment.
My final tip is don't tell anyone what day you are due to take the pregnancy test. No one should ask but if they do, give them a date at least two days later. That way you and your partner won't feel under pressure to let anyone know. Remember - stress free!