Pregnancy Symptoms: Obsessing in the Two Week Wait
What is the Two Week Wait?
The two week wait (TWW) is the time between ovulation and when the next cycle is due to start. It is a time when a woman can be in that period of limbo, uncertainty, and anxiety because essentially she doesn't know if she is pregnant or not after having unprotected sex.
The TWW can cause women to obsess about signs and changes that they see in their body, as this can be the only way to determine at that point if they might be pregnant or not—and it's usually too early to take a pregnancy test.
During the TWW, it is difficult for women to know what they should and shouldn't do. There are so many things that you might not do if you were pregnant particularly going out drinking.
When you are trying to get pregnant, you often notice things that you may not have noticed before, even if you think you would have done! Aches, pains, etc., all seem new—but what are pregnancy symptoms and what are not?
So it is the two week wait and you suspect you might be pregnant; either because you had unprotected sex, or you used a fertility treatment that you're hoping worked (like IVF). You feel like you have some pregnancy symptoms, but do those symptoms mean you're pregnant?
Some early pregnancy signs overlap with PMS signs, so having one or more of these signs is NOT a guarantee that you're pregnant.
What Are Two Week Wait Symptoms?
- Sore breasts/nipples
- Heightened sense of smell
- Difference in cervical mucus (lots of creamy white CM)
- Change in the position of the cervix (higher)
- Bleeding gums
According to a medical survey cataloguing early pregnancy symptoms, the four most common symptoms are "urinary frequency, tiredness, poor sleep, and back pain." Some of these symptoms can present before your period is due; so having one or all of these does not immediately mean that you're pregnant. However, if you don't normally get sore breasts, for example, and your sense of smell is way over the top, then this could be a good sign (if you want to be pregnant). Bleeding gums is an unusual one but occurs in early pregnancy on occasion.
Are Feeling Very Thirsty and Diarrhea/Constipation Early Pregnancy Signs?
- Feeling Very Thirsty: Based on my internet research, it seems like feeling thirsty is a fairly common early sign. Feeling thirsty is like every other symptom though: just because you're feeling thirstier than usual doesn't necessarily mean that you're pregnant. One study seems to confirm that the more pregnant you are, the thirstier you get—and that those feelings can start very early on.
- Diarrhea/Constipation: This was another symptom that people were asking about, and it seems that it is possible that it could also be a symptom. However, a lot of women who are trying to conceive are taking pre-natal vitamins, and these can sometimes cause either of these symptoms to occur.
Which Symptom Was the Strongest and Most Frequent for You?
Your Menstrual Cycle May Explain Your TWW Symptoms
Understanding your menstrual cycle from a biological perspective can help you understand what's going on with your body and perhaps help explain some of your symptoms. Menstrual cycles are broken down into two cycles: the ovarian and the uterine.
The Ovarian Cycle
The ovarian cycle happens in your ovaries (as the name suggests). It is divided into two phases: the follicular phase and ovulation. Your ovaries have follicles in them. Before ovulation, your body releases a follicle-stimulating hormone. These hormones wake up your ovaries and instruct them to prepare an egg. Once the egg is ready and the follicles have released the egg into your oviduct, your body has entered the ovulation phase. During ovulation, the egg is ushered into the fallopian tubes where it is either fertilized, or if it's unfertilized, begins to degrade after a short window of time. If the egg is fertilized (and the pregnancy sticks), you're pregnant. If the egg is unfertilized, the luteal phase begins. The luteal phase is the one that instructs your body to essentially remove the baby-making detritus.
The Uterine Cycle
In case it wasn't obvious, the ovarian cycle is so named because it happens in your ovaries; the uterine cycle is so named because it happens in your uterus. Menstruation, better known as your period, is the first phase of the uterine cycle. This is where the body clears out the unused uterine lining and unfertilized egg. From there, the body enters the proliferative phase, which is where your body starts preparing the uterine lining all over again. This is followed by the secretory phase, which is where progesterone is pumped into your body to prime the lining to receive a fertilized egg. Progesterone increases your blood flow, which can raise your basal body temperature, and uterine secretions.
Are Early Pregnancy Signs and PMS Symptoms the Same?
They can be! It is often difficult to discern whether or not a general symptom, such as fatigue or bloating, is a sign of PMS or early pregnancy. The best way to find out is to take a pregnancy test, but that's the whole point of this article: you are stuck in the two week wait and can't take the test!
So, now I am speaking from my own tww experience. I said I was not going to obsess or even think about pregnancy symptoms during that time, but really when you get caught up with it, it is almost impossible not to get involved.
First of all, before I list a lot of the pregnancy symptoms that I found out about when I was on the tww, I have to say that I also found out that a lot of women get no symptoms at all and also a lot of the pregnancy symptoms are also the symptoms of being pre-menstrual. So don't judge your pregnancy on whether or not you have the symptoms!
For me, almost every month I felt like I had a bunch of symptoms that I did not have before I started trying to get pregnant. But really, I was only being fooled by my mind or my body, and in the end, I was not pregnant—so none of these counted.
The time that I did get pregnant, I had pretty much no symptoms at all. The only reason I knew was because my temperature went up on the day my period was due to start (it would normally go down with most people).
What Should I Do During the TWW?
Abstain From Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs
If there's any chance you might be pregnant, stop drinking, stop smoking anything (including tobacco and marijuana), stop any illicit drug use, and check to see if any medications you're on might affect an embryo.
Eat Well and Rest Up
Ensuring that your body has proper nutrition and that you're getting adequate sleep is a win-win. If you're pregnant, it'll help your body stay rested and get prepared for the task ahead. It'll be supercharged with awesome nutrients and feelings spry. And if you're not pregnant, eating well and getting adequate rest is going to help you feel better anyway! And if nothing else, cooking and meal prep should be welcome distractions.
Practice Self Care
Do you have a best friend you haven't seen in a while? Is there a movie that always makes you laugh? When was the last time you went to your favorite restaurant? Take care of yourself! Surround yourself with your favorite people, your favorite things—anything that makes you happy.
Reconnect With Nature; Get Outside
Go for a hike or a walk. Exercise increases endorphins, which will help you feel happy. Sunshine is also good for you, as is fresh air. Rope your partner or a friend into going with you. Maybe even make a picnic day of it.
Do Something You've Always Wanted to Do
There's got to be something you've always wanted to do but just... haven't. Now's a good a time as any to reprioritize whatever it is that just hasn't made it to the top of your to-do list. Maybe it's trying a new restaurant, reorganizing your close, learning a new skill, getting back into crafting, or volunteering at an animal shelter.
Go Shopping and Get Fancy
Plain and simple: treat yourself. Go out and buy a new outfit that you feel stunning in. You could also plan a date with your best friend or partner so that you have a reason to show off your stunning new outfit (maybe they'll even go shopping with you to help pick it out!).
And last but not least...
Try to Ignore Possible Pregnancy Symptoms
So the lesson that I have learned is to try to ignore anything that might be pregnancy symptoms because they actually might not be. It could just be related to menstruation or actually to nothing at all. I had four days of cramping, nausea, dizzy spells, and what I thought was implantation bleeding—only to have the test come back negative at the end of it all. I really had convinced myself at times that I was pregnant—I had not had these symptoms at any other time, so why were they occurring now?
In the second part of your cycle, your body produces progesterone. This can cause some symptoms like sore boobs. These may not be pregnancy symptoms but just part of your normal cycle. However, if you do not normally get sore boobs, then that could be a sign!
Perhaps it is that our minds just play tricks on us during the tww, or maybe we just notice more because we are taking notice. In any case, don't obsess (easy to say), and just try and keep yourself busy during the two weeks until you get to the point where you are ready to take a pregnancy test.
What if I have no symptoms during the TWW?
For some women, this is normal. Having no symptoms doesn't necessarily mean that you're not pregnant. The best way to determine if you're pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.
What is the "two week wait"?
The two week wait (tww) is the time between ovulation and when your next cycle is due to start (i.e. the next menstrual period). That waiting period can be like limbo because essentially there's no way to tell if you're pregnant or not. Some women obsess about signs and changes that they see in their body during this period, as this can be the only way to determine at that point if they might be pregnant or not—and it's usually too early to take a pregnancy test.
How do I survive the two week wait?
During this period, there's no way to tell if you're pregnant or not. If you're not sure, it's best to abstain from any potentially baby-damaging activities, like drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Practice your favorite forms of self-care, such as making your favorite dinner, getting affection from your partner, partaking in your favorite exercises, or anything else that makes you happy.
What if I used in vitro fertilization (IVF)?
IVF also has a waiting period. With IVF, the sperm and egg are either mixed together in the hopes that they'll bond on their own. If fertilization doesn't occur, a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is sometimes used. This is where the sperm is injected directly into the egg in a petri dish. The fertilized egg is then deposited into the uterus. It is possible that the pregnancy won't stick, however. So you might still experience the tww.
Have you had what you thought were pregnancy symptoms only to have a negative test result?
In the Two Week Wait and Want to Order Some Tests?
These small are really easy to use—you just dip them in some of your pee and wait for 5 minutes. They are also really cheap. If you are a POAS addict, you can buy them in even larger quantities. These are much cheaper than the ones you can buy in store. So if you are in the tww, then get your supply ordered now so that you are ready to test at the right time. These are the strips that you can use from about 9dpo as they are ultra sensitive to picking up the HCG. pregnancy test strips
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2011 Jackie Grant