Navigating the Two-Week Wait: What to Do When You’re Waiting on a Pregnancy Test

Navigating the Two-Week Wait: What to Do When You’re Waiting on a Pregnancy Test

When you’re trying to conceive, the two-week wait between ovulation and the day your period is due can feel like an eternity. Here’s how to support your wellbeing while you wait—and simple steps you can take to help ensure a healthy pregnancy if it happens. 

What is the Two-Week Wait?

The two-week wait (or TWW) is the window of time between the day you ovulate and the day you expect your period to start. This is also about how long it takes for pregnancy hormones to register on a pregnancy test—so most experts recommend waiting until a missed period to test definitively.

While the length of the average menstrual cycle can vary widely (anything from 21 to 35 days is considered to be within the “normal” range) the time span between ovulation and menstruation is usually pretty consistent: around 14 days for most people.1,2

Your most fertile days are the five days leading up to ovulation (aka your fertile window), plus the day you ovulate. If conception is successful, the fertilized egg will travel through the fallopian tubes and attach to the uterine wall, and the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is produced. After about 14 days, most home pregnancy tests will detect the presence of hCG in your urine.3

This whole process can take up to two weeks. So once ovulation occurs and your fertility window has passed, all that’s left to do is wait until it’s time to take a pregnancy test. 

It’s possible to get a positive pregnancy test as early as 10 days after implantation, but it can be hard to predict exactly which day conception may have happened. To help prevent false negatives, your best bet is to wait and test after you’ve missed your period.4

Why Self-Care Is Key During the Two-Week Wait

There’s no two ways about it: When you’re hoping to grow your family, this waiting period can be incredibly nerve-wracking. “For some, getting pregnant occurs without difficulty. For others, it can be one of the most stressful times in our lives,” says Dr. Banafsheh Bayati, MD, OB/GYN, FACOG, and Perelel medical co-founder. 

That’s why it’s important to make stress relief and self-care a priority during this time. Here are a few ways to take care of your wellbeing while you wait. 

Get enough sleep.

Research suggests sleep deprivation and sleep disturbances can have a negative impact on fertility. So while it can be tempting to stay up until the wee hours Googling early pregnancy symptoms or looking at nursery inspo, make sure you’re getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.5

Keep moving.

Incorporate movement into your daily routine, whether it’s a gentle walk or a heart-pumping workout. Exercise can help to relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and improve your mood—so as long as your OB/GYN or fertility specialist hasn’t instructed you to opt out of certain activities, exercise can provide a much-needed mental health boost during the two-week wait.6

Prioritize stress relief—and connection with your partner.

Dr. Bayati recommends taking time as a couple to relax and recharge. That can be a massage, acupuncture, meditation, therapy, faith-based support, a vacation, or simply cutting back on your workload. “The key is to seek the support together and learn what works best,” she says.

Be patient. 

“Recognize that this can take time,” Dr. Bayati says. “It’s normal to take up to 12 months to conceive. A positive attitude is called for—but having been through this process and working as an OB/GYN for over 20 years, I admit, this is easier said than done.”

How to Take Care of Your Physical Health During the Two-Week Wait

If waiting around has you feeling helpless, taking a proactive approach to your health can be empowering. Here’s how you can use the two-week wait to help set yourself up for success if you find out you are pregnant. 

Schedule a preconception visit.

Taking care of your own health will help your chances of having a healthy baby. “I highly recommend a preconception visit for both partners,” Dr. Bayati says. At this appointment, your provider can discuss medications and supplements, review your medical and family history, make sure you’re up to date on vaccinations, and address any possible need for genetic testing.  

Start prenatal supplements, if you haven’t already.

“I recommend a prenatal that addresses the conception period,” Dr. Bayati says. Perelel’s Conception Support Pack is targeted to support this stage of your fertility journey with a full-spectrum prenatal vitamin plus CoQ10, omega DHA + EPA, and additional folate.

Note that the ideal timeline to start a prenatal vitamin routine is as early as six months before TTC, so that your nutrient levels are in good shape in the earliest days of pregnancy (before you even know you're pregnant). But that doesn’t mean you need to worry if you’re running behind this timeline—now is better than never.

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Adopt healthy habits. 

Healthy lifestyle changes can help to support fertility and prepare your body for pregnancy. “The importance of a nutrient-rich diet; minimization of excessive alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco; along with a targeted prenatal vitamin during conception can not be overstated,” Dr. Bayati says.  

Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms

While you wait, you can keep an eye out for any early pregnancy symptoms, which can start as soon as a week after conception. The most common symptoms include:

  • Breast tenderness

  • Nausea

  • Increased urination

  • Fatigue

  • Mild cramping

  • Bloating

However, keep in mind it often takes a few weeks for these symptoms to start popping up, so don’t stress if you’re symptom-free during the two-week wait. On the flip side, you’ll probably notice that these symptoms are pretty similar to PMS symptoms—so either way, try not to overanalyze every twinge and instead wait it out until you can definitively test.

Check out more ways to support your mental health while TTC.


1 Jessica A Greiger and Robert J Norman; Menstrual Cycle Length and Patterns in a Global Cohort of Women Using a Mobile Phone App: Retrospective Cohort Study; Jun 2020

2 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Trying to Get Pregnant? Here’s When to Have Sex

3 US Food & Drug Administration: Pregnancy

4 Cleveland Clinic: Pregnancy Tests

5 Olubodun Michael Lateef and Michael Olawale Akintubosun; Sleep and Reproductive Health; Mar 2020

6 Ashish Sharma et al; Exercise for Mental Health; 2006

7 American Pregnancy Association: Early Signs of Pregnancy