Because unfortunately, implantation failure is the cause of 75% of failed pregnancies. And there aren’t really any things that you can do to improve your chances of successful implantation.
But, there are things that you can avoid during your implantation window to set your body up to be in a healthier place and to get that positive pregnancy test.
Let’s do a quick little recap on implantation.
The implantation process
Ovulation is the magical time of a woman’s cycle in which she releases an egg from her ovary. And the egg hangs out in the fallopian tubes waiting for sperm to find their way to her.
If the egg and sperm meet, then they join to form a happy, fertilized embryo.
The fertilized egg starts her work and divides in half over and over and over to become a blastocyst. And while doing so, she makes her way down the fallopian tube to form a tissue called the trophoblast, which sits around the fertilized egg.
Together the fertilized egg wrapped in the trophoblast nestle into the uterine lining, and once there, the main act takes the stage: implantation!
Here’s a TLDR:
- Blastocyst gets to the uterine lining (the implantation site)
- Trophoblast cells attach to the uterine wall
- Trophoblast cells force their way into the uterine lining
When does implantation happen?
When the blastocyst gets to the uterine lining, it only has a short period of time to attach. And this is called the implantation window.
Once implantation happens, the hormones make some shifts. It starts with the embryo’s production of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG.
There are some sensitive tests that claim to give you positive results around 10-11 DPO, but there is a chance of getting a false-negative result. That’s because it typically takes between 14-15 DPO for your hCG levels to reach the minimum of 25 mIU/mL to get the positive result.
hCG also signals the body to boost progesterone levels, which is something you definitely want and need for a healthy pregnancy.
What to avoid during implantation?
Even though you can’t really improve embryo implantation, there are some things you definitely want to avoid while you’re waiting around for the deal to be sealed.
Here’s what not to do during the two-week wait.
Alcohol isn’t really great for anyone, but it’s especially not great for a woman aiming for a successful implantation.
That’s because alcohol makes it harder for your body to absorb nutrients, and it can also delay your ovulation and mess with your hormones.
Studies show that acute alcohol use increases estradiol, testosterone, and LH levels. Though this may not affect your menstrual cycle, the evidence shows that this drinking can negatively affect fertility.
Women who reported having 1-5 drinks per week had a lower chance of clinical pregnancy.
Inconvenience is regretted for saying that you should probably stay away from getting busy in bed during this time.
Sex during this time can put you at risk of hormonal imbalance as well as potentially introduce bacteria or infection.
It can also disrupt the implantation process. So, during your luteal phase, take a break from sex. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
This should go without saying, but smoking while hoping for a successful implantation is a no-no.
Smoking is especially bad during implantation. According to studies, it can hinder the growth and development of embryos during and after implantation by doing things such as lowering the number of cells that contribute to the embryo.
It’s no secret that stress can do a number on your body in any circumstance, but this becomes even more true during the two week wait.
Stress makes a mess of your hormones and may even prevent your body from creating a safe space for a fertilized egg.
Stress can cause serum adrenaline levels to skyrocket, which can lead to failed implantation.
So do what you can to reduce stress levels.
Though ideally, you wouldn’t consume any caffeine during this time, realistically for some, that’s probably not possible.
Caffeine is a stimulant which means it can shoot up your heart rate and blood pressure, which isn’t good for your body.
Caffeine can affect how embryos move through the fallopian tubes, how they develop, and how the uterus can support them. All of this is a major red flag for a successful implantation.
Since that is not something you want, keep your caffeine intake to no more than 200-300 mg per day throughout implantation to stay safe.
Learn More: Is It Safe To Have Caffeine While Trying To Conceive?
Remain big fans of low and medium-intensity workouts, but leave high-intensity workouts in the dust during these two weeks.
High-intensity exercise can make your body release adrenaline and other stress hormones that can have a negative effect on implantation.
On top of that, studies show that moderate exercise is good for women TTC, but more than 5 hours of high-intensity workouts per week may only be good for women who have a high body-fat percentage. For those that don’t, it may reduce the chances of getting pregnant.
As for your abs, you want to keep your pelvic area soft and the blood flowing smoothly with no constriction, so put your six-pack on the back burner for two weeks.
So keep your exercise during your two-week wait in the low-to-medium intensity range.
Some of our favorite low-to-medium-intensity exercises include:
- Walking (fast and slow)
- Water aerobics
- Riding a bike
- Doubles tennis
- Mat pilates
- Tai chi
- Lifting weights
- Resistance band exercises
Yes, you’re excited, and it’s so tempting to test early. But remember that this isn’t something you want to do.
Your body needs enough time to get its levels of hCG high enough to detect with a urine pregnancy test. And if you don’t wait long enough, the test may not be able to do its job.
So how long do you have to wait? The best time to test for pregnancy is the first day of your missed period, which is about 14-15 DPO or two weeks past ovulation.
This waiting can feel like torture and can cause quite a lot of anxiety. Know that you are not alone and be sure to join our Facebook community where you can chat with other women who are experiencing the same.
You may find yourself starting to experience some of the symptoms as per your research. You may find that these symptoms align with pregnancy.
But you don’t want to go down this rabbit hole.
The symptoms of pregnancy are very similar to the symptoms of PMS, including:
- Mood swings
You may be wondering what foods to avoid during implantation, and the #1 thing to cut out is processed food.
Processed food should really be cut from your diet at all times, but especially through the two week wait. Processed foods are packed with preservatives and chemicals that can make your body very unhappy.
Studies show that proteins the body makes after eating sugary and highly-processed foods (AGEs) actually have the power to change the environment of the womb, which, of course, affects fertility.
They are also often full of sugar and excess salt, which can affect implantation, too. Instead, eat a healthy diet.
What to enhance during implantation?
Now that you know all the things you shouldn’t do during this two week period, let’s talk about the things that you should do to make your implantation a better experience and aim for implantation success.
Cut out stress in your life and relax as much as possible. This may look like saying “no” to obligations, taking time to meditate in the morning, limiting your social media intake, asking others for help, and more.
Make stress a thing of the past during this time (and ideally, always).
Your body hears everything that you say to it, so be nice!
Say “goodbye” to self-criticism and “hello” to self-love and kindness as you’re navigating this implantation.
Waiting for these two weeks patiently is no easy task, and giving yourself nothing but time to think about how anxious and worried you are is only going to make matters worse.
So, staying busy and distracting yourself from thoughts about implantation is the best way to get through this phase. But be sure to do so in healthy ways.
Here are some ideas:
- Spend more time with friends (doing healthy things)
- Have self-care evenings
- Pick up a new hobby
- Adventure in the outdoors
- Listen to podcasts
Eat healthy foods
As you read about above, processed foods are a big no-no for implantation (or really anything, for that matter). Certain foods can be a benefit to your body at this time.
Focus your diet on whole, unprocessed foods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, fats, whole grains, and proteins that will help your body stay strong and healthy.
Take prenatal vitamins
You want to treat your body like it’s already pregnant at this time, so that means popping those prenatal vitamins.
Folate is especially important during this time, so make sure you’re getting high-quality vitamins that will support your body.
Stick to your usual routine
Since life probably feels nerve-wracking and unpredictable right now, find some calm and comfort in your regular routine.
This can help you stay relaxed and feel like you have some control right now.
When to see a doctor?
If you start to feel worried or experience any symptoms that just don’t sit right with you such as severe or persistent pain, visit your healthcare provider.
- Implantation is when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining to get nutrients for embryo growth.
- Implantation failure accounts for 75% of unsuccessful pregnancies.
- Implantation most commonly happens between 8-10 DPO (days past ovulation).
- Hormonal changes happen after successful implantation, which can result in positive pregnancy tests.
- Things that can hinder implantation include alcohol, sex, smoking, stress, excessive caffeine, intense exercises, early pregnancy testing, overanalyzing symptoms, and eating processed foods.
- Though you can’t really improve your chances of implantation, you can opt to lead a healthier lifestyle to keep your body overall more healthy.
- Some of these things include reducing stress, staying busy with healthy activities, eating a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods, taking prenatal vitamins, and sticking to a routine.