The two-week wait after IVF is the time period between the day of embryo transfer and the day to find out if you are pregnant.  The IVF treatment itself was packed full with appointments with the doctor, ultrasounds, and taking hormonal injections. Also, other medications to be taken at set schedules, and undergoing procedures finishing with the embryo transfer. Then the 2 week wait being the culmination of all that hard work to see if it has all paid off.  Thus, this nail biting wait time can be filled with anxiety, doubts and fears which can in itself take an emotional toll on you. How do you deal with the wracked nerves along with the countless worries that continue to keep popping up in your mind during this period?

Tips to Overcome Anxiety During IVF Treatment

Here are some things which may help.

  1. Try not to overthink any possible pregnancy symptoms. Sometimes even a small twinge in your body may make you very hopeful that you are pregnant or it may make you nervous that you have not had the implantation.  Try not to obsess over every symptom you feel.  Many of the so called “pregnancy symptoms” could be caused by hormones that are present during this time as well as the stimulation medications given throughout the IVF treatment especially if you have had a fresh embryo transfer rather than a frozen embryo transfer. 

Some of these symptoms can include cramps, slight twinges, breast tenderness, bloating and feeling very tired. Such symptoms are very common in pregnancy, but could also be the side effects of the progesterone treatment used to prepare your uterus lining for implantation.

Mild cramping and pelvic discomfort are very common symptoms during this time due to the various medications and the egg retrieval procedure itself and it doesn’t mean one way or the other that you are or are not pregnant. Light spotting is also relatively common after egg retrieval and embryo transfer.   Sometimes, spotting occurs due to the embryo implanting into the uterine wall. However, you should report any unusual bleeding to your doctor.  Also, many women do not have any symptoms at all when they are pregnant during this time. 

So do not read too much into anything, but rather take medications in time and stay positive.

  • Keep yourself busy. in order to not dwell on any worries or negative thoughts.  It might help to have a goal in mind for what you want to achieve in 2 weeks.  Go out and relax with your friends, watch a movie, listen to music, read, take up a new hobby, clean out your closet, do a two-week course in something you are interested in, are all examples of things you can do.
  • If you must, set aside only some “worry time”. If thoughts do come, breathe through the feeling and give yourself some time to feel it for a specific amount of time.  After this set amount of time has passed, you might feel relieved and be able to continue your other activities without worrying or being anxious.  
  • Get support. You will need support from people close to you like your partner, friends or family or a therapist.  Discuss with your partner beforehand how to handle the news if you aren’t pregnant so that you have a set plan.
  • Coping with emotions: Try to relax. Use techniques like yoga, breathing exercise, meditation, going for a walk or anything else that you know will relax you.  Try writing in a journal to sort out your thoughts.
  • Know that you don’t have to walk on eggshells. Don’t feel that a hard sneeze, cough, laughing too hard, going to the bathroom or other things will dislodge your embryo once its implanted.
  • Don’t test too early. Pregnancy tests work by measuring the levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in the urine or blood.  The embryo begins to release hCG hormone when you become pregnant.  However, during IVF treatment, before the eggs are retrieved, a trigger injection is given about 36 hours before the egg retrieval in order to mature the eggs.  This trigger injection has hCG and if you test too early, you can get a false positive.

These are some suggestions on how to deal with anxiety during the IVF two-week wait period.  It is important to be emotionally stable and calm throughout the whole IVF treatment especially near the end for positive outcome.  If you need some advice on how to go about this, feel free to talk to the fertility specialists in Pune at Xenith Advanced Fertility Centre.