2 October 2014

The Post-transfer 2-Week Wait - Now what do you do?

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Written by

Sims IVF

Dr John Kennedy 

It is worth focusing on the 2-week timespan following your fertilized egg transfer.  This two week time period, between transfer and test date has been described by some of our patients as a difficult and stressful time.

Up to then everything you do has a sense of purpose, from medication to down regulation, from stimulation to collection and then finally the transfer.

Make the two-week wait a positive experience

The 2-week wait has the potential to be amazing or miserable and that choice may be up to you. 

Our advice, no matter what the outcome, which may be influenced by so many factors, is to take a positive – this is going to work – approach.  Your primary goal is to avoid stress, negative thoughts, stressful situations and excessive worry.

This 2-week window is a time for calm positivity and encouragement. 

Why no Stress is Best

Stress is proven to have an adverse affect on early pregnancy.  Your primary goal is to avoid stress, negative thoughts, stressful situations and excessive worry.

As the system becomes stressed, the hypothalamus activates two of our internal systems: the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system.  The sympathetic nervous system uses nerve pathways to initiate reactions in the body; the adrenal-cortical system uses the bloodstream. The combined effects of these two systems create what we call the fight-or-flight response.

In parallel, we have changes in the autonomic nervous system.  Its main job is to regulate many of our organs, controlling heart rate, breathing, sweating, digestion and most importantly our reproductive system.

If we think negatively, our HPOA Axis secretes cortisol and adrenalin into the blood stream.  The hypothalamus communicates with the pituitary the sympathetic nervous system is active, heart rate increases.  The body is in fight or flight mode, decreasing blood supply to the reproductive system.  Anxiety and fear is increased and we now have a situation where the body is in stress.

Positive Proves Positive

If we take a positive approach we experience a flow of endorphins and serotonin, the parasympathetic nervous system is active.  Heart rate slows, dilating blood vessels and allowing for a healthy flow of blood into the reproductive system.  Hope develops and the belief of a positive outcome grows day by day.

Despite the sometimes grueling experience of trying for a baby and not succeeding, it is vital to embrace a positive mindset and to believe that IT will work and that you will get pregnant.

What if…

Perhaps you are afraid to tempt fate.  Focusing on the negative makes failure less painful or does it?  This mindset is understandable but when you consider the benefits of happy endorphins flowing around your body, the argument for positivity is compelling.  What if that 1% of hope reduces the stress hormones, allowing you to eat a little more and to sleep a little better during the 2-week wait?

While science can’t absolutely prove that thinking positively will ensure a baby arrives.  Overcoming your negative thoughts and promoting a positive mindset is certainly a step in the right direction.