By: Jennifer Fitzgerald, ND
The Two-Week Wait – that is, the time from intercourse or insemination or embryo transfer until your blood pregnancy test – is one of the most difficult times of all during treatment. Because we’re here to help throughout your journey, we sat down with three of TRIO’s experts and asked them for medical advice, coping strategies, and lifestyle tips designed to make the two-week wait a little bit easier. We hope you find this both useful and comforting. As always, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org, or your doctor’s office if you have questions, concerns, or feel that you need extra support during this or any other phase of your treatment.
Lifestyle Tips for the Two-Week Wait
A Naturopathic doctor specializing in reproductive medicine and adjunctive IVF treatment, Dr. Jennifer Fitzgerald, ND and Co-founder and Clinical Director of Conceive Health, provides helpful lifestyle tips for the Two-Week Wait.
What food should I eat?
Think lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, good quality proteins, nuts and seeds, healthy fats and whole grains. The key here is blood sugar control to support implantation and early embryo development, so limit the junk and focus on real, nutrient-dense food. Fermented and probiotic-containing foods may also be beneficial (yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough). Don’t forget the water as well! A quick google search might tell you to eat pineapple core and pomegranate juice as well – while these are both delicious, there is no evidence either will improve implantation rates. But if you enjoy them, go for it!
What foods should I avoid?
Avoid foods not recommended during pregnancy such as undercooked meat, deli meats, unpasteurized dairy, undercooked eggs and raw fish. If you are a tea drinker, herbal teas are ok, but avoid ones with red raspberry leaf for now, and stick to things like mint, lemon balm, ginger, rooibos or other ones with easily recognizable ingredients.
Can I have a coffee?
Most sources agree that 300 mg or less of caffeine daily is safe during pre-conception and pregnancy. The issue is, each cup of coffee can vary in terms of caffeine content. To ensure you are keeping below your limit, we like to use the rule “one and done”: have one cup in the morning and that’s it for the day. That said, caffeine metabolism slows during pregnancy to about half of your non-pregnant normal, so the same cup of coffee you were having before may be too strong during pregnancy. We recommend cutting out the caffeine if you can, either during the implantation period or on a positive pregnancy test. Excessive amounts of caffeine (4 or more servings per day) are associated with miscarriage.
Can I have a glass of wine?
The research on alcohol, preconception, implantation and early pregnancy remains mixed. In general, it is common for medical professionals to advise women that one drink won’t hurt. A recent study showed that 4 or more drinks per week (in both male and female partners) negatively affected IVF outcomes, including implantation failure. As few as 2 drinks per week have been associated with increased miscarriage. Of course, there are a few studies out there showing no effects from alcohol as well. Bottom line? Better safe than sorry. Avoid alcohol during conception, implantation and pregnancy. If you need to have a drink, limit it to one per week.
Are there supplements I should take?
The most important supplement at this time is folate, ideally in the form of a good quality prenatal vitamin. On top of a prenatal vitamin, I also recommend omega 3 and vitamin D to support blood flow and immune balance. The rest of the important nutrients required for most women will be easily obtainable through a well-balanced diet – eat as if you are already pregnant. If you have an underlying condition such as thyroid disease, PCOS or lining issues, speak to an ND to see if there are other supplements that may be beneficial to you.
Are there any supplements I should avoid?
You should not take any vitamin or mineral in a higher than normal amount unless otherwise recommended by your doctor or ND. You should also not take any herbs or supplements that have not specifically been recommended to you by a health care provider. While most are generally considered safe, they may not be for implantation or early pregnancy or may interfere with a medication you are taking.
Is Acupuncture helpful for implantation?
Acupuncture is beneficial for fertility in general, including implantation. Research shows that regular acupuncture sessions are more effective than having one or irregular sessions. To best support implantation, acupuncture should be done regularly for a few weeks to a few months (depending on your individual case) prior to implantation, as well as during the implantation period. Acupuncture improves blood flow to the uterus and reduces stress and anxiety, both of which are helpful for implantation!
In addition to practical tips about The Two Week Wait from a naturopath, please also read our article offering answers from a fertility specialist, and our article offering coping strategies from a fertility counsellor.