Is It PMS or Pregnancy? 5 Things To Remember During the Two-Week Wait
When you’re trying—and struggling—to conceive, waiting two weeks for pregnancy results can seem like a lifetime. During this time, it can be tempting to read into every symptom you may be having from moodiness to nausea; however, it’s important to remember that there’s really no way to confirm you are pregnant until you’re within an adequate testing window. Until then, the best thing you can do is prioritize your mental health.
Having trouble waiting out the two weeks? Take a deep breath, do something that brings you joy, and remember these 5 important things while you wait for your results:
1. Early pregnancy symptoms are very similar to PMS.
Experiencing a headache? Especially tired or moody? It might seem like a cruel joke, but early pregnancy symptoms are nearly identical to PMS symptoms. These can include—but are not limited to—headaches, mood changes, acne, nausea, gastrointestinal issues, and more. This is because your body produces progesterone the week after ovulation, whether you’re pregnant or not.
Progesterone is the hormone we can blame for unpleasant symptoms such as nausea or bloating. If you’re pregnant, your body continues producing this hormone. If you’re not pregnant, your body stops releasing progesterone about 10 days after ovulation and the uncomfortable symptoms should subside. If you're doing IVF, progesterone supplementation can make two-week wait symptoms almost impossible to decipher. It's frustrating, we know.
Maybe you’re not having symptoms and you’re thinking this means you’re not pregnant. Well, PMS symptoms don’t necessarily match early pregnancy symptoms. So, the bottom line is you can’t depend on symptoms—or lack thereof—to confirm your pregnancy. There is really no way to know if you're pregnant or PMS-ing until you are able to take a pregnancy test. So as tough as it might be, try not to read into symptoms too much as it will only cause you more anxiety as you wait.
2. Treat your body as though you are already pregnant.
The most important thing to remember during the two-week wait is to take care of yourself. In fact, it's best to err on the side of caution and treat your body as though you are pregnant. This includes taking your prenatal vitamins regularly and refraining from drinking alcohol. This is also not the time to experiment with a new high-intensity workout class you’ve been wanting to try. On the other hand, keeping up with your current exercise routine is a great idea! Overall, get lots of rest and prioritize self-care.
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If you have any pre-existing health conditions such as hypo/hyperthyroidism, diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other pre-existing conditions, do your best to manage these conditions now. Take any existing medications or schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss this further. Chances are you’ve been to see your OBGYN recently if you’ve been trying to conceive, but if you haven’t been to see your primary care physician in the last year, now is the time.
3. Prioritize your mental health.
It’s normal to feel anxiety around trying to conceive, and waiting can be the hardest part. We all feel ups and downs, but the "downs" can feel particularly tough right before your period and in pregnancy. Regardless of your pregnancy outcome, give yourself grace for whatever you may be feeling and spend time prioritizing your mental health and caring for yourself. This might include setting aside time to exercise, meditate, or read to help keep yourself calm and distracted. Another fun idea? Consider scheduling a spa day while you wait to find out your results.
While it's normal to be emotional, if you are feeling particularly anxious, irritable, sad, or having continued trouble sleeping, please seek out care from your doctor, trusted medical provider, or mental health professional to discuss how you’re feeling. You may have heard about postpartum depression, but depression can arise during any stage of your conception and/or pregnancy journey. It can be hard to know if and when to ask for help, but the most important thing to remember is you are not in this alone and help is available to you.
Check out this article for great resources about mental health support during your pregnancy journey.
4. Lean on your support system and set helpful boundaries.
Don’t underestimate the value of a supportive spouse, partner, friend, or family member during this time. If you are comfortable, share your needs with someone you trust. Letting a friend in on this journey can help you feel less alone. At the same time, you may feel the need to protect yourself from being around pregnant friends or babies during this time. It’s okay if you need to say no to baby showers, gender reveals, etc. Protect yourself from vulnerable situations, especially around when you plan to test.
You might also find it helpful to come up with a response ahead of time for family and friends who are asking about your fertility journey. You are in control of who you decide to share what with, and creating appropriate boundaries might be helpful in maintaining your privacy and protecting yourself from hurtful situations.
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5. Confirm your pregnancy with a urine and blood test once you are within an accurate testing window.
While you’re nervously waiting for the results of a pregnancy test, it's natural to want to test as early as possible. But testing too early is likely to yield inaccurate results. The earliest you can confirm pregnancy is with a blood test at your doctor’s office 6-8 days after conception. A urine test is most accurate 14 days after conception, or on the day of your expected period. Some over-the-counter tests promise results after 10 days. If you decide to test at 10 days, a positive result is likely accurate, but a negative result could be misleading. If you take an at-home test, make sure to confirm with another test after the 14-day period.
Regardless of your pregnancy outcome, your physical and emotional health is paramount. You are allowed to prioritize yourself during these two weeks by saying no, setting boundaries, and making time for doing the things you most enjoy. You are not on this path alone and we are here to help. Rescripted can offer everything from a community of support to prescriptions you may need throughout your journey. Join us and learn more by visiting https://rescripted.com/
Whitney Welsh is a writer and content creator who is passionate about telling stories that inspire change. She has 12+ years of marketing and communication experience at industry-leading brands including Southwest Airlines, Hilton, and Baylor Scott & White Health. In her personal life, Whitney is inspired by travel, spending time outdoors, and volunteering in her community. She is currently expecting her first baby with her husband (and their dog, Odin).