Yes, it happened! After weeks, months, or years of trying, you are waiting to see the second line on your pregnancy test, or to hear from your doctor that you are pregnant. During this time, you might find yourself anxious, nervous, excited, or tired. Finding coping strategies to relax your body and calm your mind can be extremely helpful during this period.
The 2-Week Wait
Typically, there is a 2-week wait period after in vitro fertilization (IVF). This time can be emotionally and physically taxing, especially for those who have tried to conceive for years and feel that IVF may be their last chance. The wait period following IVF can be one of the most trying times in a person’s life, but there are many strategies that can have a major effect on the wellbeing of individuals going through this process.
Keep Your Expectations in Check
For most women, the post-IVF wait period is filled with expectations that can lead them to become overly focused on the physical processes in their body. You may notice yourself becoming more aware of certain sensations. Normal cramping may be magnified, and slight twitches could become a cause for celebration or disappointment depending on your perspective.
It is important that during the post-IVF wait period you take the time to reflect on the process and your expectations. For many, IVF represents the solution to their hopes and dreams of pregnancy. This can lead to unrealistic expectations regarding the efficacy of IVF. It is advisable to remain mindful of your expectations so that you do not allow yourself to become too focused on your body. The body undergoes many normal processes each day, and it is almost impossible to differentiate between run-of-the-mill sensations and those associated with pregnancy.
Don’t Ignore Your Body
By checking in with your expectations, you can gain greater control over your emotional state. This will allow you to have a realistic approach to IVF and enable you to relax and gain peace of mind. Though it is important to distance yourself from thinking too much about what is happening in your body, it is also essential to report any significantly abnormal symptoms to your doctor.
Symptoms that you should be aware of during the IVF process include severe cramping, heavy bleeding, and accompanying nausea. The presence of these symptoms could mean that you are experiencing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS is typically a mild condition, but it can be serious. Roughly 20 to 30% of women undergoing IVF will experience mild OHSS. You must contact your doctor if you are experiencing the previously mentioned symptoms.
Take it Easy
One method of reducing the chance of developing a complication like OHSS is to ensure that you get plenty of rest throughout the 2-week wait period. It is especially important that you avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise during the process. It’s also essential to avoid hot baths. Too much exercise can lead to complications, and if the weather is hot, it is better to stay cool indoors.
Most doctors will recommend that you take time off from work during the 2-week wait, or at least for the first week. This will allow you to enjoy plenty of rest and relaxation which will aid in the implantation process. For those who work in a particularly strenuous environment, taking 2 weeks off is a must. A doctor’s note can be granted, and it is also helpful to notify your employer ahead of time so that they can make the necessary preparations.
Surround Yourself with Activities You Enjoy
You may find yourself getting a little stir crazy during the wait period. It is a good idea during this time to surround yourself with activities you enjoy. If you love to read, then pick out a couple of good books. Watching movies, playing games, and painting are all excellent activities that offer passive enjoyment. It is advisable to get some light exercise too, such as walking. Gentle aerobic exercise may improve your mood and it can keep you healthy while you wait for your results. Yoga is a great option post-IVF, so long as you keep it light.
Eat Healthy and Drink Water
Eating healthy is vital after IVF. A healthy diet will provide you with the necessary nutrients to support implantation. It is also essential that you drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lower the chances of implantation and make you more susceptible to complications. There are many popular myths about the consumption of specific foods to increase the chances of a positive outcome. While it is true that some foods are rich in nutrients that your body needs to support a pregnancy, there is no magic food that will make the ensure IVF will be successful.
Don’t Forget Your Medicine
The fertility drugs that your doctor will provide are vitally important to the success of IVF. Make sure that you take the medication as prescribed. Failure to do so could limit your chances of implantation. If given the option, choose a fertility drug that fits with your schedule and is easiest to remember to take. If you do forget to take a pill, don’t panic. Just take your next scheduled dose at the proper time. If you are living with someone, ask them to help you remember your medication.
Take Advantage of Your Support Network
You may be going through IVF alone and taking this journey by yourself can be especially challenging. For those fortunate enough to have a strong support network, it is advisable to look to others for help during this time. Perhaps you are experiencing IVF with a partner, in which case they may provide you with a vital source of strength and stability. Family members and friends can all provide emotional support during the IVF process. If you are going it alone, there are sources of support, such as online support communities as well as counseling services.
Be Prepared for Good and Bad News
IVF success rates vary significantly based upon a number of factors. It is important to prepare yourself for the possibility that the treatment will not be successful. Just as necessary is preparing for a positive result. Regardless of the result, IVF is an emotionally trying process that has the potential to drastically alter your life. It is essential that you are prepared for any outcome. Be confident in your ability to move forward in this journey and understand that a negative result is not the end of your pregnancy hopes. IVF may need to be repeated multiple times before a successful implantation occurs.
For more information about IVF and other treatments, contact LA IVF. Our team of experts will provide compassionate counseling and support at every stage of your journey to becoming a parent. Click here for a list of references.
By Gozde Gokozan, LMFT, LPCC Psychotherapist for LA IVF