Waiting to take a blood pregnancy test after an IVF treatment can be a stressful time. Most women want to know exactly when they can take the test.
If you take an over-the-counter pregnancy test too early, it is less likely to detect the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormones that help determine whether you are pregnant. You may get a false negative.
The fertilization process does not occur overnight. In fact, it can take several days for successfully fertilized eggs to reach the uterus before the placenta begins producing the pregnancy hormones.
For there to be enough levels of the hCG hormones for detection in your urine, you typically need to wait two weeks after conception. The lack of hormones is why most fertility specialists recommend that you wait to take a pregnancy test.
Typically, after the transfer of an embryo, your fertility doctors will schedule a follow-up appointment in two weeks. This is the recommended time frame for detecting pregnancy after conception.
Instead of waiting impatiently for the two weeks to pass, you should focus on your physical and mental well-being.
Taking Care of Your Body During the Two Week Wait
While waiting for the pregnancy test, your doctor will likely have recommendations for activities that you should avoid. They may also provide some dietary advice, such as limiting your consumption of caffeine and avoiding alcohol.
The most common piece of advice for taking care of your body during this wait is to treat your body like you are already pregnant. If the IVF treatment was successful, you may really be pregnant. It is best to begin acting like you already are, to avoid any potential complications.
During the early days of IVF, doctors would make women stay on bed rest for about one week while they waited for the results. They were worried that the eggs might drop out of the uterus if the patient spent too much time standing.
Fertility doctors now understand that there is no link between bed rest and successful IVF treatments. However, you may still want to take it easy. You should avoid strenuous activities such as performing intense workouts or lifting heavy objects.
Your doctor may also recommend that you avoid having sex during this period. The primary reason for avoiding sex and intense exercise is to avoid uterine contractions. These contractions may impact the success of the transfer and fertilization.
Limit your activity for several days to give the embryo a better chance of implantation. After two to three days, you can resume your normal routine. You can go to work, run errands, and drive a car.
Some women may want to know if they can fly on a plane during these two weeks. While there is no evidence that flying is dangerous for the IVF process, most doctors recommend that you avoid air travel.
Instead of traveling, they want you to remain home where you can quickly contact your fertility specialists if you detect any potential complications. For example, if you experience bleeding or extreme discomfort, it is best to be close to your doctors rather than on a plane or in a different region.
Taking Care of Your Mind During the Two Week Wait
Along with your physical health, you should focus on your mental health. Find ways to take your mind off the IVF treatment. However, this is easier said than done.
During the two-week wait, you should fill your time with enjoyable activities. You may choose to spend time with friends or family, catch up on your favorite television shows, or practice breathing techniques to calm your mind.
You should also avoid obsessing over potential symptoms. If you feel slightly tired one morning, you may worry that the treatment was a failure. If you get a stomach ache, you may be concerned that something is wrong with the potential pregnancy. Worrying over things that you cannot control only leads to more stress.
Why Should You Wait for a Blood Pregnancy Test?
As mentioned, the main reason for waiting to take a pregnancy test is to ensure that your body is producing enough of the pregnancy hormones for detection by the pregnancy test.
Over-the-counter pregnancy tests are less effective at detecting this hormone, as there is less of it in your urine compared to your bloodstream. With a blood pregnancy test, you get a more accurate result.
If you take an over-the-counter pregnancy test and get a false negative, you may give up hope. You may start smoking cigarettes or have a drink to take the edge off. However, there is still a chance that you may be pregnant.
If you do take a home pregnancy test, do not assume that the results are 100% accurate. You need to wait for your next appointment for the blood test to verify the results.
When you get a positive result from the blood test, a second test is typically performed. About two to three days after the first test, your doctors will want to check the hCG levels again to confirm whether you are pregnant.
If you get a negative result from the blood test, it is not the end of the road. After an unsuccessful pregnancy test, your fertility doctors can discuss the results and find ways to improve your chances for the next round of treatments.
Remember to Relax During the Two Week Wait
After you receive an IVF treatment, one of the biggest challenges is waiting to take a pregnancy test. You simply want to know whether the treatment was successful. However, if you take a pregnancy test too soon, you may get a negative result, even if you end up getting pregnant.
Do not rush the process. If you are pregnant, you will find out when the two-week wait is over. While waiting, remember to take it easy. You should rest for the first day after the embryo transfer. Use this time to relax and think positive thoughts about your potential pregnancy.