Your timing was right and you’re ready for this — all you need to do is wait for that positive pregnancy test. Sounds easy enough, right?
Well, if you really think you might be pregnant, you know that this time is anything but easy. Read on for some tips on getting through these days in waiting.
What you can do while waiting to take a pregnancy test
When you’re hoping for a positive pregnancy test result, the wait can seem interminable, and the wondering can be stressful. Here are eight things you can do to make the wait until you can test as bearable as possible.
1) Get ready
So, are you prepared for a positive pregnancy test result? Here’s a quick to-do checklist of things you can do in the meantime:
- Review your health insurance to find out what kind of prenatal care they cover.
- Choose a caregiver for your pregnancy.
- Ask your caregiver about starting prenatal vitamins.
- Buy a pregnancy test kit — get more than one so you can confirm the results.
Take care of what you can now so you can stay ahead of the game.
2) Start healthy habits
Don’t wait until that pregnancy test comes back positive before you start to get all the nutrition a pregnant woman needs! “You and your baby both will benefit if you’re in the best health — nutritional and otherwise — as possible at the time of conception,” says nutritionist Martha Belury, PhD, RD.
“To that end, health practitioners often recommend all women begin taking prenatal supplements and eliminating alcoholic beverage consumption and tobacco products usage before pregnancy.”
Even before conception is confirmed, you can begin to curb any harmful habits, like smoking and drinking. They can also start implementing a healthier diet containing essential vitamins and nutrients, such as folic acid and calcium. You should also be sure to drink plenty of water.
When it comes to kicking bad habits, it’s not easy, but you should do your best for your baby. Smoking, drinking, many medications (and, of course, illicit drugs) should be considered off-limits during pregnancy or while trying to conceive.
You should also avoid caffeine, such as in coffee, teas and carbonated beverages) and excess sugar. You will also want to consider your exposure to everyday environmental hazards like secondhand smoke and gasoline fumes (if you pump your own gas).
3) Familiarize yourself with symptoms of pregnancy
There are countless ways in which your body may tell you you’re pregnant. Here are some of the most common early signs of pregnancy:
- Nausea, vomiting and/or food aversions
- Unusual new food cravings
- Frequent urination
- New pelvic heaviness or other sensations
- Tender, swollen or tingly breasts
- Darkening of areola (area around the nipples)
Unfortunately, not all women experience pregnancy in the same way. One expectant mom may have every symptom in the book, while another might not even realize she’s pregnant because she doesn’t feel one thing out of the ordinary, and yet another will fall somewhere in between or have a completely different symptom.
So how symptomatic will you be? There’s just no way of knowing.
Kelly, a hopeful mom-to-be in Indianapolis, Indiana says, “Every time I experience something somewhat out of the ordinary, I check all of my pregnancy books to see if that’s a symptom. ‘Oh, my eye twitched — is that a symptom?'”
She’s not alone. Particularly if you have really strong hopes for or feelings about pregnancy, some symptoms may be imagined, or the most minor symptom could seem magnified. In the midst of it all, try to keep some perspective. As Kelly adds, “No matter whether I am pregnant or definitely losing my mind, I can always laugh about it later.”
4) Minimize your wait
In the past, you needed to wait at least until your period was due before you could test — that was about 28 days after the first day of your last period (although personal cycle length varies) — meaning about 14 days after conception.
Fortunately, you usually don’t need to wait that long anymore. Several pregnancy tests on the market today offer high-sensitivity/early results, allowing you to find out yes or no sooner.
5) Don’t let the mind games begin
Although it’s wise to know the signs of pregnancy, sometimes, that knowledge can make you imagine symptoms.
“I totally believe that you can trick yourself into feeling pregnant… I know that I have done it myself, and it seems like everyone I know has, too,” says hopeful mom Kathy. “If you become fixated on every little twinge you feel and getting pregnant is all you can think about, it’s amazing what your subconscious mind can do to you!”
6) Find support
Throughout your pregnancy, you will benefit from the support, understanding and encouragement of women who are going through the same things you are. Even now on our message boards, you will find countless other women trying to conceive with whom you can share your hopes, questions and talk about symptoms you might be experiencing.
Says Rachel, a Boston-based mother of one, “I counted down the days until I could take the test with the other ‘ladies in waiting.’ As the big day came closer, I would check in to see who took the test already or to see who got their periods and were going to try again the next cycle. Whenever someone did get a positive result, it was always exciting!”
The support of others can also be invaluable, since they’re sometimes the only ones who really understand. Hopeful mom Bekah posted a message online saying, “I talked to my partner about it all last night, and he threatened to give up trying to conceive if I didn’t stop obsessing…”
7) Distract yourself
Sometimes women are so consumed with trying to conceive, it’s hard to think of anything else. But after ovulation has occurred and your window of opportunity has passed, there’s little you can do to change the outcome.
We know it’s hard, but you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you could just try to distract yourself from your quest. This might be a great time to get that streaming service you’ve been wanting to try, or to test out a new hobby you’d been thinking about.
Here are ten ideas for you:
1. Soothe your sleep: Get some super-soft new sheets, invest in some comfy new pajamas.
2. Learn: Read up on pregnancy, or study a completely unrelated topic that’s always fascinated you: ancient history, French, geography, art, horse racing… the sky’s the limit.
3. Read: Books, magazines — anything that interests you!
4. Get involved in a hobby: Write, sew, knit, draw, paint — learn photography or cooking.
5. Watch movies & binge TV shows: Subscribe to a streaming service, or rent movies via your local library.
6. Get spiritual: Pray, meditate or otherwise get in touch with your divine self.
7. Volunteer: Find a cause you support and find out what you can do to help someone less fortunate.
8. Make lists: List things to do when you’re finally pregnant, things to do if you’re not yet pregnant, baby name ideas, future home improvement projects, life goals.
9. Write letters: Catch up on correspondence to friends, family, or write notes to your baby.
10. Keep a journal: Chronicle your life in writing or on audio, video or through photos.
8) Think positive
Pregnancy doesn’t always happen right away, and we won’t tell you that this time won’t be frustrating. But, as countless women can tell you, whether it takes weeks, months or years to finally achieve pregnancy, it’s well worth the wait.
With luck, you’ll be looking at a positive pregnancy test in no time! And if it doesn’t happen this month, try to think positively. Have faith and hope, and be ready to try, try again.
A version of this article previously appeared on Myria.com