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Your Complete Guide to Surviving the Two Week Wait

If you are TTC, you must be well aware of the dreaded two week wait. Those 14 days can be excruciating. 

So many uncertainties. Am I pregnant this time? Will I be disappointed again this cycle? This (insert symptom) must mean I’m pregnant, right? When can I test? The list goes on. 

These two weeks don’t have to be so bad though. Keep reading to learn more about your cycle during the two week wait and how to cope with the stress. 

What is the two week wait?

The two week wait (TWW) is the time between when you ovulate and when a pregnancy test will detect pregnancy hormones. As the phrase suggests, this is usually about two weeks.

If conception occurs, the fertilized egg will take about 6 – 12 days post ovulation (DPO) to implant into the lining of the uterus. During this time the fertilized egg (now a blastocyst) is journeying through your fallopian tube to get to your uterus. 

Once the blastocyst implants into the uterus, the placenta forms. This cues pregnancy hormones to start being released. Successful implantation is the official start of the pregnancy. 

The TWW is a confusing term because in theory, you could find out sooner than 2 weeks from ovulation if you are pregnant. And for many women, the two week wait could even be up to three weeks depending on the type of at-home pregnancy test they use and how accurate it is. 

If you undergo any fertility treatments like IVF and IUI, the timeline may change slightly as well. If you have regular follow-ups with your fertility doctor, you likely will find out sooner via a blood test. 

The length of time aside, during the TWW, you are likely monitoring your symptoms to see if you are pregnant or to see if a new menstrual cycle is beginning. 

You will often hear doctors or other women refer to the days past ovulation or DPO. This refers to the number of days that have passed since ovulation occurred. And it’s an important number to know if you are waiting to test for pregnancy. 

What happens during the two week wait?

Here is a basic breakdown of a textbook 28-day cycle to better understand the “two week wait”. Keep in mind that your cycle may be shorter or longer than 28 days. The length may also vary cycle to cycle. That is totally normal!

28-day cycle:

  • Days 1 – 8: menstruation
  • Days 10 – 15: fertile window
  • Day 14: ovulation 
  • Days 20 – 26: implantation (6-12 DPO)
  • Day 22: trace levels of hCG may be detected in urine (8 DPO)
  • Day 29: first day of missed period
  • Day 36: the most accurate time to test for pregnancy (7 days after missed period or 22 DPO)

Again, your cycle may not align with this timeline. That’s why it is so important to know your body and track your cycle with a monitor like Inito. When you track your cycle, you have a better idea of your cycle length. This makes it so much easier to figure out how many DPO you are at. 

Two week wait symptoms

The trickiest part of the two week wait is telling normal premenstrual symptoms from implantation symptoms. Many of them are very similar, and you may not experience symptoms at all.

Common early pregnancy symptoms:

  • 8 – 10 DPO: implantation bleeding, frequent urination, constipation, cramps, food aversions and cravings, nausea, breast tenderness, fatigue
  • 11 – 14 DPO: cramps, spotting, breast tenderness and enlargement, fatigue, nausea, frequent urination
  • 15 – 16 DPO: increased basal body temperature (BBT), back pain, frequent urination, sore breasts, sensitivity to smells, headaches, fatigue, nausea
Common symptoms of menstruation:
  • Bleeding 
  • Cramping 
  • Breast soreness
  • Moodiness 
  • Backache
  • Bloating
So, how do you tell the difference?
Well, if you go by symptoms alone, it may not always be totally clear. But, progesterone levels are a tell-tale sign! 

During ovulation, progesterone levels rise. And when you conceive, they keep rising even higher. In a cycle where pregnancy did not occur, your progesterone levels will peak at 6 – 8 days past ovulation and then begin to fall again. 

You may also notice a difference in your cervical mucus (CM). During a normal cycle, CM usually decreases after your period. But in early pregnancy, you may see an increase in CM. While this can be an early sign of pregnancy, only a pregnancy test can tell you for sure.

What about ovulation bleeding vs. implantation bleeding?

Every woman has a unique cycle. Some experience light spotting during ovulation. This would happen usually around 12-14 days before your next period. Ovulation spotting is light pinkish in color and lasts just a day or two. 

Roughly a third of pregnant women experience implantation bleeding. This occurs around 6 – 12 DPO and is pinkish or light brown in color. You will know it’s not your period because it will only last from a few hours up to two days. And it’s much lighter than period bleeding.

Learn More: Ovulation bleeding vs. Implantation bleeding: How long does it last? 

What helps implantation during the two week wait?

If you are really hoping for those two pink lines or a smiley face on your test, I’m sure you are wondering this! 

The simple answer is to just carry on as normal and try not to stress yourself out too much. Trust that your body knows what it’s doing. If you’ve had losses or struggles TTC, I know “doing nothing” can be so hard. I’ve been there. 

One thing you can check with your doctor about though is progesterone supplements. Progesterone is a pregnancy hormone that helps with the growth of the fetus. Women with low levels of this hormone are known to have a higher risk for miscarriage. 

If you think you have low progesterone, talk to your doctor. They may prescribe you progesterone medication to take during the two week wait until a positive pregnancy test. 

Read More: How to Make Implantation Successful: What You Need to Know

Coping with anxiety during the two week wait

You will find yourself feeling a range of emotions during the TWW, especially anxiety and impatience. 

The research is still controversial, but there does seem to be a correlation between stress and infertility. And TTC or not, too much stress is not good for your mental or physical health. 

Here are some tips for dealing with anxiety during the TWW: 

  • Stay busy: Plan time for one or more of your favorite hobbies. Doing something you enjoy will keep your stress levels low. You can even write up a detailed daily agenda to ensure you fill up all your time in the day. 
  • Practice mindfulness and deep breathing: When we worry, it’s often because we are thinking too much about the future. Mindfulness and breathing can help limit stress by grounding you in the present. 
  • Move your body: Just like mindfulness and breathing, exercise and movement keep you in the present. This doesn’t mean go do a super intense workout! But light walking, yoga, swimming, or other non-impact movements can be a great stress reducer. Not to mention, engaging in quality movement each day is good for your overall health. 
  • Eat healthy: What you consume plays a big role in how you feel. Consuming foods high in sugar or going overboard with caffeine can mess with your hormones and give you energy crashes. Instead, opt for nutrient-dense foods to boost your mood and energy levels. 
  • Seek support: Keeping your emotions bottled up can lead to even more stress. Find someone to talk to—a friend, a significant other, a therapist. You can also check out Inito’s fertility support group. There is comfort in discussing your concerns with other women who have been in your shoes. 
  • Keep a journal: Writing down your thoughts is another great way to process the stress and big emotions you are feeling when TTC. Plus, you can use the journal as a keepsake to remember your fertility journey.  
  • Laugh: Laughter has been proven to increase dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. It helps the body regulate higher levels of stress and makes you feel more at ease. Hang out with someone who makes you laugh, watch a funny movie, or listen to your favorite comedian. 

What not to do during the two week wait?

  • Avoid drinking alcohol during the two week wait: You will hear conflicting data about whether or not you can consume alcohol during this window. A recent study found that each additional week of alcohol consumption after conception is associated with a greater risk for miscarriage. So it’s best to play it safe and treat this time as though you are pregnant.
  • Avoid smoking and drugs during the two week wait: Tobacco products and other drugs are harmful for your own health. But they can also impact your baby as well. Smoking during pregnancy (even before you know you are pregnant) can lead to growth restrictions for the developing fetus. It also increases the risk of preterm birth and miscarriage. Using other drugs and even OTC medications can lead to similar outcomes. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any medications while you are TTC.
  • Foods to avoid during the two week wait: The same approach applies to eating. Don’t consume foods that you would avoid if you knew you were pregnant. This includes produce that could contain pesticides or toxins as well as excessive levels of caffeine and anything you are allergic to. Consuming a healthy diet in early pregnancy may help with avoiding potential complications like extra gestational weight gain and preeclampsia.
  • Exercise during the two week wait: In general, you should continue exercise as normal during the TWW. As mentioned above, moving your body can help reduce stress. But it is best to avoid starting a new exercise regimen, especially an intense one, during this time. The American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecologists recommends avoiding physical activity that causes your body to overheat too much or that exceeds 85% of your max effort. Prolonged vigorous activity may lead to maternal injury or dangerous changes in fetal heart rate.
  • Avoid sex during the two week wait: It’s possible that having sex during the luteal phase (5 – 9 DPO) could disrupt the implantation process. So it’s better to abstain from intercourse during this brief window. Opt for other forms of intimacy instead.  
    Learn More: Is Having Sex Everyday Bad When Trying to Conceive?
  • Avoid testing during the two week wait: You may be tempted to test. Some women test multiple times a day even when it is too early for OTC pregnancy tests to detect hCG. This can be harmful for your mental state as it will cause you extra worrying and can lead to false negatives. To keep your sanity, wait until after your missed period for the most accurate results.

When to test during the two week wait?

The perfect time to test all depends on when you ovulated. That is why it is so helpful to be in tune with your body’s signs of ovulation. You may not experience ovulation symptoms at all though. 

This is where a fertility monitor like Inito can help! It can let you know for sure if ovulation occurred. 

How to know if a pregnancy test is accurate in early pregnancy?

There are two main ways to detect early pregnancy: urine tests or blood serum tests. Concentrations of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) will be higher on a blood test in an early pregnancy than on a urine test. 

That is why doctors and hospitals will use blood tests to check for pregnancy. They are more accurate. Between 9 – 10 DPO, hCG levels in blood serum will be about 10 mlU/ml. Around 9 DPO, hCG concentration in urine will be around 0.93 mlU/ml. 

When you do decide to test for pregnancy, keep in mind that you could get a false negative result. This usually happens for two reasons. 

One is that your urine may be too diluted. If you drank too many fluids before testing, this can occur. That’s why many doctors recommend testing with first morning urine (FMU) to get the most accurate result. Another reason false negatives can occur is if you test too early. 

Except for user error or issues with the OTC early pregnancy tests, it is less likely to get a false positive. However, a false positive could occur in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. So long story short, know your cycle and avoid testing too early.

Myths related to the TWW

If you’ve been browsing the internet for TWW tips, you have likely stumbled upon some of these common myths: 

  • It takes two weeks after ovulation to confirm pregnancy: Some women will get an accurate positive pregnancy test before the “two weeks” is up. 9 DPO is the earliest you can get a positive result. The length of waiting time will depend on two things. One is when implantation took place. The second is the method of pregnancy testing (urine vs. blood). Blood tests will pick up on hCG sooner than urine tests. And not all urine tests are made equal. Some can be used earlier than others.
  • Consuming pineapple core will cause a miscarriage: Pineapple is said to increase the blood circulation to the uterus and alter implantation. This is because of the high concentration of bromelain the core contains. It is known to break down proteins in the body and cause bleeding. No studies have been able to officially confirm this.
  • Eating Brazilian nuts can help you get pregnant: The selenium they contain boosts egg quality which can improve your chances of conception. Again, there is no clinical evidence to prove this. And it’s best to consume selenium in moderation as too much selenium can be toxic. 
  • Keeping your feet warm helps circulation in the uterus:  The idea behind this myth is that keeping a warm internal temperature helps with blood flow in the uterus. Some women wear socks to keep the heat from escaping their body. It takes extreme conditions to significantly alter your core temperature though. So this is not likely to have any real impact on your chances of pregnancy.
  • Bed rest increases chances of pregnancy: Back in the day, people thought too much movement could cause the embryo to detach from the uterine lining. The female reproductive system is sturdy. Your typical daily activity will not cause the embryo to detach. 


  • The two week wait lasts from ovulation until a confirmed pregnancy test or the start of a new cycle. 
  • The fertilized egg takes about 6 to 12 days after ovulation to fully implant into your uterine lining. This is the signal to your body to produce pregnancy hormones.
  • Early signs of pregnancy are often confused with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Pay attention to your body’s cues. 
  • Progesterone is a key pregnancy hormone that can indicate successful implantation. It can be prescribed by a doctor to help with implantation. 
  • The TWW can be very stressful. Keep yourself busy to keep your mind off of the pressure of getting pregnant. 
  • Take care of your body during the TWW in case you are pregnant. Avoid consuming food/drink or doing activities you wouldn’t do if you knew you were pregnant.
  • Get familiar with your cycle. Track when ovulation occurred so that you know when to test for pregnancy. 
  • Remember that testing too early can cause extra stress or give false negatives. 
  • Don’t give too much thought to common myths about the two week wait. 
  • Stay calm, breathe, you got this!

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