As part of your in vitro fertilization (IVF) process, you may have to inject progesterone daily to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
This article explains why progesterone is important during pregnancy. It also provides tips on how to inject progesterone intramuscularly on your own, if prescribed by your doctor.
Progesterone is a sex hormone that plays a key role in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Self-administering progesterone during IVF helps your body prepare for pregnancy.
Injecting yourself can be difficult. However, knowing that you might help your chances of a healthy pregnancy should make this discomfort more bearable. Remember, this is only temporary.
Progesterone is usually mixed in sesame oil. Be sure to mention it to your doctor if you are allergic to peanuts or sesame seeds. They might prescribe progesterone in olive oil.
If you are currently self-injecting progesterone and finding it difficult, the following tips may help:
- Keep the oil in a warm place, not in the refrigerator. Oil thickens in colder environments. This can make it more difficult to draw or inject.
- Before you inject yourself, change the needle after drawing the medicine into the syringe. A sharp needle will make the injection a little less painful.
- Once you’ve chosen an injection site — for intramuscular injections, this will most likely be your hip, arm, or thigh — numb your skin with ice before cleaning it with alcohol.
- Don’t forget to rotate injection sites. Do not inject the drug into the same site repeatedly. This increases the chance of tissue damage.
- Make sure you palpate (lightly feel) your muscles before choosing a site. Sometimes the progesterone in the oil can build up in the muscles, causing nodules or lumps called panniculitis. Your injection should not go into one of these bumps, and should be at least an inch away from the knot to avoid pain and help the absorption of progesterone.
If you are still having difficulty injecting yourself, ask a friend or family member for help. If this is not an option, call your doctor’s office for guidance.
How to inject fertility drugs with less pain
After injecting yourself, use a heat source or heating pad to warm the injection site. Since progesterone is contained in the oil, it may take a while for it to be absorbed into your muscles. The heat warms and thins the oil, which helps promote absorption.
You should also massage the area after the injection is complete. This can also help progesterone be absorbed.
Progesterone is a hormone important for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. For this reason, women who are undergoing IVF may have to inject themselves with progesterone. Self-managed footage can be difficult, but there are ways to make the process easier and more painful.
If you can’t stand giving yourself daily injections, or if you notice any side effects, talk to your doctor about switching to a different type of progesterone. Progesterone is also available in gel, tablet, or suppository form. These are placed inside the vagina and do not require injections.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Progesterone Oil Injection for?
Intramuscular injections of progesterone oil (sold under brands like Gestone) can restore normal menstrual periods that have stopped for months and treat abnormal uterine bleeding caused by low hormones. They can also improve pregnancy chances in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI).
How to inject progesterone oil?
Intramuscular progesterone oil is injected into a large muscle, usually the buttocks. It is usually self-managing. When used for in vitro fertilization, daily injections begin three to five days before the scheduled embryo transfer and continue through the ninth week of pregnancy.
What are the side effects of progesterone injections?
Common side effects of intramuscular progesterone include injection site pain, headache, acne, fatigue, breast tenderness, vaginal discharge, and depression.
What are the alternatives to progestin injections?
In addition to intramuscular injection, there are different ways to deliver progesterone to IVF. (Note: Not all products are available in the US.) These include Endometrin (vaginal insert), Crinone (vaginal gel), Cyclogest and Milprosa (vaginal pessary), and Utrogestan (oral capsule).
Is intramuscular progesterone the best option for IVF?
Intramuscular progesterone seems to work just as well for IVF as other forms of progesterone. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Discuss with your healthcare provider which form is best for you.