Going through an infertility treatment cycle is a true test of patience. The waiting period before a pregnancy test can be performed ranges from 11 days following ovulation for IUI patients to 9 days following an embryo transfer for IVF patients. Some women describe it as the longest two weeks of their lives! It does not have to be a time of high anxiety, however. Below are some suggestions to help you pass the time more quickly, maintain a positive mood, and reduce stress.
1. Distraction. A little distraction is good. Stay focused on work or busy yourself with a special home project. Everybody knows that time drags when you are bored and have too little to do.
2. Exercise. Mild to moderate exercise can boost your mood, help you sleep better, and make you feel like you are doing something good for your health and the health of your future baby. Walking and other low-impact activities are perfect during this period. No boot camp or marathons! (Follow your physician's directives about bed rest or limited activities during the 24-48 hours following insemination or transfer.)
3. Indulgence. Get a massage or pedicure. Go to the movies. Eat at a fancy restaurant if your budget allows. The point is that you deserve a little spoiling. Trying to conceive a baby is hard work!
4. Relaxation. Practicing your daily diaphragmatic breathing or other relaxation techniques can do wonders to reduce feelings of anxiety and will help you feel more in control of your body. Every woman wants to do all she can to facilitate a positive treatment outcome. This will ensure that your body and mind are calm and in a perfect state to allow that little embryo to grow!
5. Support. Whoever has been your "go to" infertility buddy needs to be leaned on during this waiting period. Ideally, a friend or family member is best. Spouses tend to have their own set of worries to manage during this time. A supportive friend or relative can be told ahead of time what you may need. For example, if you like to talk things through tell
them that you may need to call them frequently to calm yourself down. If you prefer distraction, ask your support person to be available to go to the movies. shopping or go to lunch. To really be of benefit, you must be clear about your needs. Having a friend call you constantly to "check in" can be irritating and create more stress if you are the type of person who prefers less talking and more doing.
6. Positive Coping Statements. When we say soothing things to ourselves, we tend to relax and feel more positive. Ease anxiety by repeating to yourself, "I am doing everything possible to become pregnant. I am strong. I am healthy. I will make a wonderful mother." Sometimes just a word or phrase can serve as a way to center ourselves. For example, repeat "calm perseverance."
7. Journal. Journaling is a great way to express your thoughts and feelings. Research has demonstrated that writing can be a powerful way to work through complicated emotions. Take these two weeks to give it a try and see for yourself!
8. Cognitive Restructuring. This is a technique that can be used to interrupt and combat negative, intrusive cognitions. For example, during the wait if you start to catastrophize ("This is not going to work. I am never going to get pregnant!)", you can stop and change the thought to reflect a more realistic attitude.
9. Create a Plan B. Although you want to remain cautiously optimistic with a treatment cycle, it is also very helpful to create a "plan B," just in case. This is not being negative, it is being very proactive and will help you cope better if you do not receive a positive pregnancy test. For example, if you are undergoing your first cycle of IUI, the plan B would be to do another cycle of IUI. Ask your physician, "If this doesn't work, what comes next?"
10. This too shall pass. Regardless of whether you are able to wait patiently, the time will eventually pass and you will have your answer. I always encourage patients to think about how they want the test results communicated (Do you want to receive the call at work? Do you want the nurse to communicate the results to your husband? The two of you can then manage the news together at home.) You may also want to keep your schedule light around the date of your pregnancy test. This will give you flexibility if you want to take a day off from work. Whether you get good news or bad news, you may need time to reflect and/or regroup before resuming the demands of your normal routine.
For more information, please contact CARE Fertility.