When you have been trying to conceive for a while, the two-week wait can be a highly anticipated time filled with feelings of fear, hope, and most of all, uncertainty. You’ve taken your meds, you’ve gone to the appointments, you’ve tracked your ovulation, and now all you can do is wait (and wait, and wait). 

While it might feel like you’ve lost any semblance of control over the outcome of your cycle, there are things you can do nutrition-wise during the two-week wait to improve your chances of implantation: 

What happens in your body during the two-week wait?

The second half of the menstrual cycle, or the 12-14 days after ovulation and before your period, is called the luteal phase. During this time, estrogen and progesterone are ideally ramping up, signaling the preparation of the uterine lining for a fertilized egg to implant. If there is no fertilized egg or these hormones are not produced at optimal levels, then your menstrual cycle (period) will begin.

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But what happens when there is a fertilized egg, and hormones are in balance? What other factors could be impacting implantation? Here are my tips for improving implantation outcomes during the two-week wait.

The best diet for implantation in three steps:

1. Manage your insulin levels.

Evidence shows that women with insulin resistance (when cells don’t respond well to insulin or uptake glucose from your blood) are more at risk for implantation failure. Insulin resistance is a hallmark characteristic of PCOS, but not all who struggle with insulin resistance will have PCOS, and vice versa. In the long term, my recommendation is to have blood work done on an annual basis to rule out any insulin concerns. Consider asking your healthcare provider to run the following labs: A1C, fasting glucose, and fasting insulin.

In the short term, supporting your blood sugar and insulin response is very possible with simple at-home adjustments. Consuming more protein, fiber, and plant-based fats to help neutralize the impact of sugars is key. Additionally, the type of carbohydrates you consume should ideally come from complex carbs like beans, lentils, yams, and beets rather than simple carbs like white bread, soda, fast food, and alcohol. 

2. Reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury or infection and can be caused by multiple factors. Some inflammation is normal and important, but long-term chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on our bodies. Some studies link inflammation to PCOS, endometriosis, recurrent miscarriage, and recurrent implantation failure. Inflammation can also be caused by lifestyle factors such as smoking, elevated BMI, and stress, so it’s critical to look at how these factors could be impacting your ability to conceive. 

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When it comes to inflammation from your diet, the worst offenders typically include white flour and sugars, poor-quality oils, and trans fats. Conversely, examples of inflammation-mediating foods include brightly colored fruits and veggies such as broccoli, blueberries, spinach, herbs, and spices like turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, basil, and parsley. Plant-based fats like raw nuts and seeds and avocado are also terrific for fighting inflammation and keeping your overall health in tip-top shape. 

3. Get physical!

You've probably heard conflicting advice on the topic of exercise while trying to conceive, but emerging evidence shows the benefits of physical activity on reproductive outcomes.

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In fact, recent research has shown that regular, moderate exercise can help support your fertility. “Regular, moderate" means up to 150 minutes a week, over at least 3 days a week, and at a cardiovascular level where you can speak in short sentences but not sing.

At the same time, additional research looked at high-strain exercise for women with a history of miscarriage, and those results suggest that avoiding strenuous exercise around the time of conception and very early on in the pregnancy may help reduce the risk of miscarriage.

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For all of these reasons, we at myMindBodyBaby suggest brisk walks and invigorating yoga flows during the two-week wait to help bring nutrient-rich blood to your reproductive organs and balance your hormones, not to mention other awesome benefits that come from moving your body. 

The two-week wait can feel a lot like limbo, but there are things you can do to maintain some sense of control during this uncertain time. From managing your insulin levels to fighting inflammation to engaging in moderate exercise, making small changes can support not only implantation but all aspects of your reproductive health. 

To learn more about how to prepare your body for the two-week wait and improve your chances of implantation, check out myMindBodyBaby’s Two-Week Wait Implantation Guide here

Michelle Strong is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Co-Founder of myMindBodyBaby. Being a food nerd and clinical nutritionist for the past 13+ years taught her a lot, but it was nothing compared to struggling with infertility for two long years. Since then, she has shifted her focus to helping those on their personal journeys to motherhood.