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Facing the Beta Wait: Symptoms, tips, and what NOT to do

In this article, we speak with Dr. John Peay about the symptoms you may experience during the beta wait. We will provide tips on how to cope with this time more effectively and offer valuable information to help you face the results of the pregnancy test.

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What is the “Beta Wait”?

The beta wait, that period of approximately 15 days from embryo transfer in in vitro fertilization (IVF) or egg donation until the pregnancy test, is a time of intense emotions for prospective parents.

On the one hand, they experience feelings of euphoria, hope, and happiness at the possibility of a new family member. On the other hand, they also face stress, anxiety, and nerves, fearing a negative result on the pregnancy test.

This period is called the beta wait because the pregnancy test analyzes the beta-hCG hormone. This hormone, released by the embryo after implantation in the maternal uterus, is crucial for pregnancy development.

How long should you wait to take a pregnancy test after transfer?

When embryo transfer is done on day 5, at the blastocyst stage, the pregnancy test (which involves measuring the b-HCG hormone in blood) is scheduled for 10-12 days after transfer. This period is known as the luteal phase, which spans from the transfer to the pregnancy test.

Therefore, to obtain accurate results on the pregnancy test, it is recommended to wait at least 15 days, avoiding false positives or negatives due to insufficient hormonal levels.

When do symptoms start in the Beta Wait? What does it feel like?

During the beta wait, it is important to understand that the symptoms experienced by women do not necessarily indicate a successful pregnancy since the embryo has not yet implanted. The symptoms may be related to the side effects of ovarian stimulation and continued use of progesterone during this period.

Symptoms that may manifest during the beta wait include lower back pain similar to menstrual cramps, a feeling of pinching in the ovaries, light spotting or bleeding, frequent urgency to urinate, clear or yellow vaginal discharge, abdominal bloating, headaches, breast size increase, migraines, nausea, mood changes, fatigue, constipation, insomnia, and more.

It is important to note that these symptoms can occur whether the pregnancy test result is positive or negative, and some women may not experience any symptoms at all.

Beta-hCG levels

Beta-hCG hormone levels progressively increase from the beginning of gestation to the first trimester of pregnancy, after which they gradually decrease.

As a general reference, if you take the blood test on day 14, a value lower than 5 mIU/mL is considered negative, while a value higher than 5 mIU/mL is interpreted as positive.

If you get a result below 100 mIU/mL, it may be advisable to repeat the test in 2-3 days to confirm the progression of pregnancy. If beta-hCG levels double during this period, it indicates favorable pregnancy development; otherwise, it could be a biochemical pregnancy.

It is important to remember that beta-hCG hormone levels can vary significantly among women. Even if levels are initially low, pregnancy can progress normally as long as there is adequate increase in these values.

Tips for handling the Beta Wait

This stage can be emotionally challenging for prospective parents. Here are some tips for effectively coping with the beta wait:

  • Maintain a normal life: Continue with daily routines and engage in work and leisure activities to keep your mind occupied.
  • Prepare for a negative result: Not all conception attempts succeed in the first cycle. Stay positive and prepare for future attempts.
  • Reduce stress: Practicing relaxation and breathing techniques can help alleviate anxiety and stress.
  • Mutual support in the partnership: Understanding your partner’s emotions and feelings is essential.
  • Psychological support: If you feel the need for help in coping with distress and anxiety, consider seeking support from mental health professionals.
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Beta-hCG levels

  • Avoid excessive rest: Unless your job involves pregnancy risks, taking sick leave is not necessary. Always follow medical recommendations.
  • Don’t obsess over symptoms: It’s common to interpret minor symptoms as signs of pregnancy. Try to stay calm and not exaggerate discomfort.
  • Diversify conversations: Discussing the beta wait is important, but don’t let it become the sole topic of conversation with friends, family, or your partner.

These tips can help you effectively cope with the beta wait phase and face the pregnancy test result with greater peace of mind.

If you want more information or need to clarify your doubts, don’t hesitate to contact us and consider our fertility treatment options. We are here to provide the support you need on your journey to motherhood.