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Getting Through The Two-Week Wait

dr. connell shady grove fertility
Medical Contribution by Dr. Connell

Whether you are trying to conceive on your own or undergoing fertility treatment the two week wait can seem like an eternity. This is the time between suspected ovulation – or in the case of those undergoing fertility treatment, the time of insemination or transfer – and when the first pregnancy test can be taken resulting in reliable results.

Women, especially those in treatment, find themselves hyperaware of their bodies and asking themselves “Am I pregnant?”, “What should I do about this”, or “What does that mean?” on a daily basis, increasing the difficultly of the wait. To help navigate the curiosity and unknowns, we gathered some question from our community, ran them by Dr. Connell, who sees patients in our Mechanicsburg and Lancaster offices, and came up with answers to your most pressing two week wait questions.

Q: What is the two-week wait?

A: It takes about two weeks from the time an embryo implants in the uterine wall to start emitting enough of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to be detected by a blood test. This period of time is referred to as the two week wait. The blood test – officially called a beta hCG blood test – detects hCG and is the most accurate indication of pregnancy. We simply refer to the test as a “beta” because it actually measures a beta chain portion of the hCG hormone molecule.

Q: Should I take a home pregnancy test after fertility treatment?

A:  We recommend that you refrain from performing a home pregnancy test as they can render false results, either a false negative or false positive. A false positive result may be due to the fact that in many of our treatments, hCG, the same hormone that measures pregnancy, is given to “trigger” ovulation in many of our patients. Traces of the administered hCG may still be in your bloodstream and detectable by a test even if implantation has not occurred. A false negative might occur as a low level of hCG may be undetectable in a urine test despite a pregnancy starting as these are less sensitive than the blood hormone tests we administer.

On average, two weeks after your IUI or embryo transfer you will come back to our Center for your pregnancy test.

Q: What is happening to my body during the two-week wait?

A: During this time, you may feel as if you are about to start your period. Your body has been through a lot and the medications you have taken are designed to promote the optimal environment for pregnancy. You may experience some cramping, spotting or light bleeding, abdominal bloating, fatigue, and breast tenderness. While you may be slightly alarmed to experience some of these symptoms, they are normal and do not signify that you are or are not pregnant.

Please note, if after your treatment you feel excessive bloating, shortness of breath, chest pain, or lower abdominal pains, you may have ovarian hyperstimulation and should call your clinical team immediately.

Q: Do I take medications during the two-week wait?

A: Yes, patients are often prescribed progesterone and/or estrogren to take throughout their two week wait.

Progesterone supplements are given so women may produce the same levels of hormones that would occur in early stages of pregnancy. While most patients will supplement their progesterone via vaginal insert, patients who are using donor egg or frozen embryos will use the injectible form of progesterone for their cycles.
Additionally, patients who undergo IVF, donor egg or frozen embryo transfers may also be prescribed estrogen supplements to help thicken and maintain the uterine lining.

Please do not stop taking these medications until you have been advised by the medical staff to do so.

Q: Can I continue my normal day-to-day activities during the two-week wait?

A: We tell all of our patients who have had an embryo transfer to be cautious during their first five days after their treatment. We recommend that you refrain from strenuous physical activities as well as sexual activities during that time as they may cause uterine contractions that might impair the implantation process. There is also a greater risk during that time of ovarian issues arising since, for many patients, the ovaries are still slightly enlarged at that point. After those first few days, you can start non impact light aerobic activities, such as walking and gentle swimming.

Q: Do I need to adjust my diet during the two-week wait?

A: No special diet is required during the two week wait, but we recommend that you start making nutritional choices as if you are already pregnant. This means eating well balanced meals, no sushi or other raw or undercooked meats, avoiding high-mercury fish, soft cheeses, no alcohol, and continuing to take prenatal vitamins.

Q: Can I travel during the two-week wait (or thereafter if pregnant)?

A:  Traveling during the two week wait is acceptable as it does not affect the ability for an embryo to implant. We do however; prefer that patients do not travel beyond the range of reasonable medical care in the event of side effects that would call for medical care.

Q: What levels of hCG will determine if I’m pregnant?

A: A blood hCG number over 100 is considered a good first beta. Higher numbers cannot predict a multiple pregnancy, only the ultrasound can determine that.

Additional beta tests will be performed every 48 hours after the first positive test to confirm the hCG level continues to rise. If the number continues to increase, we’re more confident that it’s likely a viable pregnancy.

We will then have you come in for ultrasounds usually between six and seven weeks to determine if the embryo continues to develop into a fetus. At about eight weeks, our Center will refer you back to your OB/GYN to continue your prenatal care.

Q: If I am pregnant, how do you ‘count’ how far along we are?

A: As soon as it is determined that you are pregnant, we use the same obstetrical counting or dating system as your OB/GYN. This is done to avoid using one set of dates from the time of an IUI or IVF versus another set of dates used by obstetricians. The OB doctors determine pregnancy dating to be from the last menstrual period, at least 2 weeks prior to ovulation. So although you may have taken the first pregnancy test just two weeks after treatment, you would be considered four weeks pregnant.

The first early pregnancy ultrasound is usually scheduled for you between six to seven weeks Gestational Age, roughly four to five weeks from your IUI or embryo transfer.

Q: What are my next steps if I’m not pregnant?

A: If you aren’t successful, your nurse will advise you to stop your medications. You will have the opportunity to talk with your physician to review the past cycle and make a decision together about your next steps.

Q: How long after a failed cycle can I do another cycle?

A: While your physician will determine the timing of a new cycle, it is not always necessary to take time off between cycles unless otherwise directed. Many of our patients are able to begin their next treatment cycle immediately and for some a cycle of rest is recommended or preferred.

We know that these two weeks can be a very stressful time. Visit the SGF Facebook page if you’re looking for ways to help pass the time and get support from patients who understand what you are going through during this period of time. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call your nurse.

Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in 2014, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness as of December 2020.

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  1. Ericka Mullen

    December 6, 2019 - 5:59 am

    It’s currently 12:56 am. Today at 0800 I have my blood test to determine if there is HCG present. This has been a long journey but I am super thankful for a knowledgeable team of medical professionals to help me through this journey. Praying for positive results!!!

  2. Lenette

    February 7, 2019 - 2:16 pm

    I am 41 years old and me and my boyfriend have just complete IUI last Tuesday..Currently a week into the 2ww and everything seems as of it is a symptom… the wait feels extra long

  3. Tiffany

    March 9, 2018 - 4:36 pm

    Hello Ladies, I did my first IUI on Feb. 22, did the hcg(beta) test on March 8; unfortunately my test results were a negative ! Still no period , praying that the test was a false negative !

    • Sterling

      June 9, 2018 - 8:04 pm

      Hi Tiffany, I just read you post I hope you are pregnant!! I’m in the same boat, keeping my fingers crossed!!

      • GALO LAZO

        December 26, 2018 - 7:41 pm

        Hello Ladies. my wife is going to the same thing. they did the test on the 10th day after the embryo transfer and came negative, but she does not have her period yet and also hoping is a false negative. could you please let me know if you got pregnant. we have been through so much already.

  4. Erica

    September 26, 2017 - 5:25 pm

    Thanks for this comment. I am 45 years old as well and I take my beta test on Thursday. Been praying and trusting that God will see this through.

  5. Lettaayanna Gunn

    September 15, 2017 - 2:33 am

    Hello ladies. I am a 45 yrs old woman. So my appt is in Monday to check my pregnancy results after my ivf treatment. This two week waiting game drove me nuts. Fortunately my results are positive. I’m super excited. I hope this helps with you alls anticipation. Thank you

  6. Amanda

    August 29, 2017 - 12:33 am

    Is it normal to see cervix mucus after your iui? Today i had my first IUI and when i urinated i saw cervix mucus. What does that mean??

  7. Angela

    August 4, 2017 - 7:45 pm

    I had IUI 2 days ago and the wait is agonzing!! No feritility issues on my end but my husband has a low morphology count. Praying for the best! Baby dust to all <3

  8. Neisha

    July 27, 2017 - 6:40 pm

    Hello Ladies. Me & My Girlfriend Have Decided That We Want To Have A Baby. We Are Going With IUI. My First Initial Consultation Today & They Did Some Testing For STD’s & Such. My AF Comes Around The First Of Every Month. My RE Told Me To Give Them A Call Once My AF Starts To Begin Blood Work. Assuming That Everything Is Fine What Is My Next Step? When Could I Possibly Start The Insemination? I Have Been Going Crazy On Google Doing Tons Of Research & Seeing Who’s Stories Are Similar To Mine.

    P.S. Good Luck To All You ladies Trying To Conceive

    • Cristy

      September 22, 2017 - 11:05 pm

      Hi my wife and I did our first IUI today. 2ww dread already here lol I pray your successful. The main advice I’d give is stay off the internet you’ll end up paying more for things you don’t need or use and or worry your self sick. Best thing my wife did for me was cut the internet off. Seriously it’s the devil lol. Eat right take your prenatals pray on it and leave it to the doctors and your body. Always get a second opinion if your unsure an question question question anything you pause at.

  9. Antoinette

    June 19, 2017 - 6:22 pm

    Hi ladies I just had IUI last Saturday. Didn’t want to drive myself crazy so I’ve been keeping super busy and the time is passing. My wife and I decided to make a game of it so every month I don’t get pregnant I get a present. That way I’m not so disappointed. We created a win win situation that helps keep me positive. So each month I either get a baby or a bracelet. I’m not sure if it will help it works for me… it’s getting warm so if I don’t pregnant this month I think I’m gonna ask for a bike . Good luck ladies happy baby making

  10. Soumi Banerjee

    May 2, 2017 - 6:40 am

    I am also having same problem.had my first iui on 15th April.today morning I tested it from home pregnancy test kit and it’s negative.. called up the doc,he was busy in OT..let’s see wat he says. But my sister is advising me to wait for some days if there is no menstruation,then take a beta HCG test… which is always accurate..

  11. Lori

    September 29, 2016 - 11:14 pm

    I do hope and pray all you ladies are blessed with the chance to experience mothehood. I myself just had IUI Sept 19 my blood test is Oct 3, I have been praying for this journey to be a safe and positive one. I hope I didn’t harm myself by not stop running for the two weeksides, see if am a long distance runner and I love to run on daily basis, not running for that long will just drives me insane so I continue to run ,hike.
    I do hope me running do not cause a negative outcome.

    Good luck to you all

  12. Vina

    September 10, 2016 - 12:09 am


    I had a failed ivf, got the bfn results. I never thought about testing early as I thought I was pregnant. However all the symptoms I had were due to progesterone injection. The only thing I didn’t have was the sore breasts.

    This time around, probably 2nd day after my frozen embryo transfer I noticed my breast swell, feel sensitive and feel heavy. I think that’s a good sign but I read this may be symptoms of the progesterone again. So I was impatient and took a first response pregnancy test on day 10 after the fet. Unfortunately, it turned out to be negative result. I have my blood test On Monday. Should I believe the hpt or is there any possibility of Monday’s blood work to be positive?

  13. Brittany

    July 10, 2016 - 10:45 pm

    I’m in the same boat as you. My test was negative. I spoke to my sister and friend who are pregnant. Both of them had a negative test initially but waited a bit and took another one. Both positive…so I’m hoping that’s what happens for me–and you! :)

  14. Evelyn

    June 11, 2016 - 7:08 am

    After the 2 weeks test my pregnancy test was negative but was adviced to wait another week for a repeat test and still be taking my medication. Is this a right form of treatment?

    • Brittany

      July 10, 2016 - 10:46 pm

      I’m in the same boat as you. Took a test after 2 weeks and it was negative. My sister and friend took pregnancy tests–both showed negative but they waited a bit and then both their tests were positive. Hoping this happens for me—and you! :)

    • saachi

      September 12, 2016 - 7:48 am

      Done IUI in Aug 12 with progesterone I’m in the same boat as you. My test was negative.now its day 47 still no period dr suggest to stop progesterone its 5th day after stopped but negative hpt nd blood test . what can i do its just so much hect.

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