From Issue 6 of Life's News Newsletter
Tips to lessen the discomfort of ART Shots
by Nicole Lange Lic.Ac. MAOM
Deciding to pursue assisted reproductive therapies (ARTs) such as inseminations and IVF is filled with difficult choices and sacrifices. Still, a successful outcome can make it all worthwhile. Try the following tips to help make your injections a less painful part of the process. Remember: always follow all steps to insure clean needle standards, remove air and bubbles from syringes and always follow your clinics procedures carefully and ask if you are unsure whether a tip is right for you.
Insert and remove all needles at 90 degree angles
Massage the injection site* afterward to help your body absorb the injection, move stagnation and prevent pain (*do not massage injection sites when you are using blood thinners like heparin or lovenox)
To reduce stagnation and increase absorption try using heat locally or move the area (literally) by going for a walk doing light qi gong.
Ice can numb the nerves to decrease pain at injection, but will also cause the blood flow to the area to stagnate, slowing absorption and increasing pain after the injection is over. It is best to develop a good technique for puncturing the skin and avoid ice when possible.
If you find injections with syringes painful (as opposed to pre-made pens) ask your clinic if they can provide you with larger gauge needles (larger gauge means smaller needle size). This will mean the needle is less painful going in, but will also require you to take longer injecting the same amount of fluids (through the smaller needle).
Try different locations and move locations around from day to day (some women prefer the hip, while others find the lower abdomen more comfortable)
Some stimulation meds are known for stinging as they are injected. Some women find that letting the needle “rest” (sit out in the prepared pen/syringe) for 15 minutes prior to injecting help take the sting out.
If at all possible get assistance with these injections
Lie down and try to relax the muscle you will inject, the more tense the muscle, the more resistance and pain.
Stretch the skin of the injection site slightly before needling it so the needle will puncture the skin quicker.
Progesterone in sesame oil can be thick and difficult to inject. Warming the oil to body temperature by placing the vial in your bra* for 15 minutes helps thin the oil and make it more comfortable to inject (*be sure to thoroughly clean the rubber top with alcohol before you draw the shot to avoid contamination).
Use small circular bandages or draw a chart and mark where you did your last progesterone shot to help move the site around (if you are doing these for several weeks into pregnancy this can be a big help for your bottom!)
You may also want to ask your clinic if they offer Progesterone in Ethyl Oleate (instead of sesame oil). Ethyl Oleate is much thinner and easier to inject/absorb.