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What is the Two Week Wait?

If you're trying to get pregnant? you're probably super familiar with the dreaded two-week wait — you know, that anxiety-riddled time between your peak fertility zone and the time you can take a pregnancy test. The two weeks before your missed menstrual cycle where you're waiting to find out if you're pregnant. Those weeks can feel absolutely endless: Maybe you spend them swearing you've felt a bit of nausea or mentally beating yourself up over that one glass of wine you had. Whatever the case may be, the two-week wait can be seriously tough to work through — and you may be wondering if there's anything you can do in the post-ovulation zone to boost your chances of seeing that positive test.

There may not be a miracle solution you can implement while you're in that limbo. But are there certain things you should and shouldn't do during the two-week wait? Totally! Dr. Kiarra King, a Chicago-based OB-GYN, shared some of her top tips with us — here's what the expert suggests for anyone who is trying to get pregnant!

DO consider avoiding alcohol

One of the trickiest parts of the two-week wait is deciding how you'll approach the big "to-drink-or-not-drink?" dilemma. And the truth is, it's a controversial one — but Dr. King knows where she stands. “I generally say avoid it," she said. "With alcohol, you don’t really know what the threshold is for a fetus to develop fetal alcohol syndrome. I’m of the mindset of just avoiding alcohol in pregnancy. You will find providers, but those first few weeks after conception — it’s a very critical time. I’m generally of the mindset to abstain.” Heavy drinking can possibly interfere with implantation, so you may want to avoid it. With that being said...

DON'T beat yourself up if you had a drink before that positive pregnancy test

Did you have a glass of wine right before you got that positive pregnancy test? If so, you're definitely not alone. Women will come in and say ‘I didn’t plan this pregnancy, I think I had a drink right after my missed period.' Anything that is consumed kind of an all-or-nothing phenomenon,' Dr. King explained. 'It’s either going to affect the baby or not, and generally something like a drink of alcohol is not going to be anything huge in that window.” So breathe, mama — a small amount of alcohol during the two-week wait is probably not going to negatively affect your baby.

DO live the healthiest lifestyle you can

Dr. King advised just taking a healthy approach during that two-week wait to kick off your possible pregnancy. “Drink plenty of water, just live a healthy lifestyle. That’s always going to bode well,” she said. You may want to consider increasing your intake of superfoods for pregnant women.

DON'T think you can do much to improve your odds of conception

Obviously, there are things you can do during your ovulation to improve your chances of getting pregnant (we all know how babies are made, right?) — but during the two-week wait, it's more or less out of your hands. “There’s not really anything you can do to increase the likelihood that the sperm is going to fertilize those eggs,' she shared. 'That happens around the time of ovulation and intercourse. There’s really nothing in those two weeks you can do to increase their chances; it’s either going to happen or it’s not.”

DO stay active

If you've been physically fit up until this point, you don't need to kiss your gym days goodbye! “You can generally keep up that activity throughout the pregnancy as long as its tolerated," Dr. King said. "During that two-week time, carry on with activity just as normal.” In fact, getting regular exercise in is a great idea throughout your pregnancy. So get that sweat on, Mama!

DON'T forget to modify certain activities

While most workouts are just fine during the two-week wait, you will want to avoid certain things. Dr. King cautioned women against exposing themselves to temperature extremes, so hot yoga is a no-go. And we hate to be the ones to tell you this, but your post-workout saunas and hot tub sessions are out as well.

DO be careful with medications

If you're on a daily prescription medication, you may want to discuss this with your doctor before you start trying to get pregnant— he or she can tell you if it's safe and figure out another course of action with you if it's not. You may want to be careful about over-the-counter medicine as well. “If someone had a headache I would say ‘take Tylenol, not Ibuprofen.’ If someone were to take Ibuprofen during that two-week time, would it be a detriment? Unlikely," Dr. King said. "But for someone who is trying to conceive, I would give them all the precautions.”

DON'T go TOO crazy where food restrictions are concerned

You may be thinking about avoiding things like sushi and deli meat, which are off-limits for pregnant ladies. If this makes you feel more comfortable, by all means, stay away! But if you slip up here and there, don't freak. “During that two-week wait, it’s probably not as big of a deal. In general, if someone were to have a piece of sushi during early pregnancy, it would probably not be of any great concern," Dr. King reassured us.

DO wait to test

We know, we know. This just may be the toughest rule of all. But taking a home pregnancy test too early may not be the best idea in the long run. “I usually tell women to wait for that missed menstrual cycle," Dr. King said. "There are some pregnancy tests that will detect it a little bit earlier, but I generally would advise them to wait for that missed period. If you’re taking pregnancy tests before then and it’s not positive it becomes a little anxiety-provoking for some people.”

DON'T try to spot pregnancy symptoms

That whole I-just-felt-a-wave-of-nausea-and-I-think-that-means-I'm-pregnant thing? Yeah, probably not doing you any favors. “Easier said than done, but I think it's best to wait for that confirmation," Dr. King advised. "That pregnancy test is going to give you a 'yes' or 'no' and then you’re able to go from there instead of coming up with these symptoms you may or may not have. And in those first two weeks, people may or may not have too many symptoms to begin with. You can have nausea for any reason, it's not always an early pregnancy symptom. Plus, pregnancy symptoms can be similar to PMS symptoms, so I usually just say be patient and wait for that positive test.”

DO try to reduce your stress levels

Getting your mind off the countdown is probably in your best interests. Your mental health matters - don't cause yourself any extra stress during this time. The two week wait is the perfect time to try some relaxing activities, such as:

  • Snuggle up in a cozy robe with a good book
  • Watching a new TV show
  • Going on walks
  • Getting a massage
  • Taking a few naps

Dr. King's suggestion? “I think during that time, women can generally go about their lives the way they were before — outside of going binge drinking or something like that," she said.

About the expert: Dr. Kiarra King MD is a board certified obstetrician-gynecologist. She is a graduate of The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she earned her bachelors degree, with honors, in Kinesiology. She later matriculated at The University of Illinois College of Medicine. There, she earned her medical degree and matched at her #1 choice for residency in obstetrics and gynecology. She trained at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago and completed her residency there. Now, as an attending physician, she has passionately continued to treat the whole patient and empower them to optimize their health and live their best lives. In addition to hands-on patient care, she gives back by volunteering at many community events. She enjoys speaking on a variety of women's health topics and has participated in career days, health fairs and immersion workshops.

Any specific questions about what you should or shouldn't do while trying to get pregnant? Be sure to direct them to your OB-GYN!