We’re happy to offer tips for IVF shots to all our patients. A typical IVF cycle involves multiple self-injected shots every day for around two weeks before the egg retrieval. And while shots are rarely a pleasant experience for anyone, there are ways to make the injections easier, more comfortable, and less stressful. Here are some of our favorite tips for how to manage IVF hormone shots.
Ask for Help
Being asked to give yourself a shot can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. Your team is here to help. Ask your nurse to walk you through how to do the injection, and any suggestions they have for making the process easier. Feel free to ask any questions, no matter how small. Information is the best way to feel comfortable with the process.
It’s also completely okay to ask a partner, friend, or loved one to help you with the shots. Some patients feel more confident doing it themselves, while others gladly hand it over to a loved one. The important thing is that whoever gives the shot is informed and secure with the process.
With that in mind, make sure you carefully read the instructions for each of your medications, well before the scheduled time for the shot. Some medications need to be kept at different temperatures, or have different preparation involved. Get to know the specifics for each medication and ask your nurse any questions before it’s time for the first injection. Your team may have their own tips for giving yourself the IVF shots.
There are also some at home health care services that will administer injections for you at home. Ask your insurance provider about coverage for these options.
Plan a Routine
It’s important to take the medications at the scheduled time every day. Many patients find that creating a daily routine helps reduce stress of remembering or finding time for the shots. Plan your schedule to have plenty of time beforehand, so you don’t feel rushed. Similarly, having a dedicated space for the shots, or just keeping all the supplies together in an organized place, can make the shots faster and easier.
Most clinics and pharmacies have videos that walk you through preparing and taking the shots. Consider watching the videos each time you give yourself a shot, for reassurance and reminders.
Try Temperature Management
One tip for helping with IVF shots is to use either cold or heat. Some patients find that either ice or hot packs can help to reduce pain or swelling at the injection sites. Numbing the area with ice beforehand can help with subcutaneous shots (which go into fatty tissue between the skin and the muscle). For intramuscular shots (which go directly into the muscle), using a heat pack after the shot can loosen up the muscle. This allows for easier massage of the medication into the muscle after the shot. Generally, you want to avoid ice before an intramuscular shot, as the muscle should be as relaxed as possible.
Heat can also help make some medications easier to inject. Medications in oil, such as some progesterone shots, can be thick at room temperature. Gently warming the vial by holding it in your hand or putting it in a glass of warm water can thin the medication and make it easier to inject. However, you should never heat medications in the microwave or on the stove. Ask your doctor about safe ways to warm up medications.
Tips for IVF Shots: During the Injection
For subcutaneous injections, some patients find it helpful to pinch their skin together to make it easier to inject the medicine and avoid the muscles. For intramuscular injections, try to relax your muscles as much as possible. It can help to lean on a counter to take weight off your leg, or lie face down while a partner gives you the shot.
Switching sides for the injection site on your body can also reduce swelling or irritation. For instance, if you inject your left hip one morning, you can inject your right hip the next day. Try to avoid placing the shot in the same place, or on top of any bumps or irritated skin.
Aftercare Tips for IVF Shots
It can be nice to treat yourself after your shots with something you enjoy. Some examples include a cup of tea, a favorite tv show, or reading a good book. At the same time, keep in mind the reason you’re doing all this! Shots can be uncomfortable, but they help get you closer to the hope of a successful pregnancy. Remembering your long-term goal, while giving yourself short-term rewards, can help make the whole process feel more manageable.
These are just a few tips for managing your IVF shots. Your team is happy to help you find your own most comfortable routine. Give us a call today.