The only thing most people know about IVF is that it involves needles. Lots of needles. And they’re not wrong; injections, unfortunately, play a large role when it comes to fertility treatments. 

If you’re about to start IVF, the idea of giving yourself shots on a daily basis can be incredibly daunting. Even if you don’t have a phobia of needles, no one likes being stabbed with a pointy object, especially one that is filled with medication that is likely to make you bloated, tired, and cranky.

But the reality is that, for many of us, injections are part of the deal when it comes to getting pregnant and growing our families. No shots? No baby. So since we’ve been given no other choice in the matter, we thought we’d share some tips to make the whole “shots” thing a little bit less painful.

Here are some of our favorite tips and suggestions for administering your IVF or IUI injections like a damn pro: 

1. Reframe the way you think about injections.

Sure, shots are no fun, but try reframing the experience. Think about them as a tool you’re using to get one day closer to your future baby. When I was going through IVF, I tried to remember the big picture with every injection. By the end, I even looked forward to my injections because it was literally all I could do to help grow my follicles, thicken my uterine lining, and overall try to improve my odds of having a baby. You have so little control over your fertility journey, but doing your injections responsibly is one thing you do have control over. 

belly injection

2. Practice makes perfect!

I’m not going to lie: the first time you inject yourself (or your partner injects you) is scary. You don’t know what to expect. Will it hurt? A little bit. Will it be as bad as you think? Probably not. Most importantly, make sure you understand how to properly mix and administer your medication. Your fertility clinic will most likely walk you through this in detail. Rescripted also has a full library of medication tutorials on Youtube, which you can access here.  

Make sure you ask your nurse or pharmacist any and all questions you have and be sure to take advantage of Rescripted's medication management tools to receive text reminders when it's time to take your meds! 

3. Ask a partner, buddy, or nurse for help.

Some people are afraid of flying. Others are scared of heights. And some are drop-dead terrified of needles. If you’re one of these people and you’re also going through infertility? I’m sorry. The universe has played a terribly cruel joke on you. But it’s going to be okay. If you don’t feel comfortable injecting your own meds, it’s time to turn up your charm and ask someone to help you. Maybe it’s your best friend, your cousin who is a nurse, or your husband/wife/partner. 

4. Ice, ice, baby.

Before administering your injection, ice the injection site for about 5 minutes with an ice pack (or ya know, a bag of frozen vegetables). This will adequately numb the spot and make the injection significantly less painful both during and after. 

5. Gear up.

Make sure you have alcohol swabs, bandaids, paper towels (in case there’s blood), and a Buzzy at the ready before administering your injections. What’s a Buzzy? It’s a cute little vibrator (don’t laugh) that you place right near the injection site and it helps distract busy minds away from the shot. I loved my Buzzy and used it with every single shot! 

6. Make it a ritual.

Coming up with a ritual can help ease the emotional stress of injections. Maybe it’s a piece of chocolate or cup of tea afterward, a kiss from your partner, or even listening to a certain song (if you have a good sense of humor, you could try this one). This will help your mind associate the shots with something good, and hopefully keep some of the existential dread at bay.

7. For subcutaneous injections, take turns between the sides of your stomach.

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It hurts a lot more to keep stabbing yourself in the same spot. Try going around in a circle so you give certain areas enough time to heal before circling back to them. To learn more about subcutaneous injections like Follistim, watch our video tutorial here

8. For intramuscular injections, come up with a system that works for you.

Ahhh, the dreaded PIO injections. Everyone has their own process and system for these bad boys. Some women can do them on their own (RESPECT!), but for me, I hated the wonky angle and had my husband help out. Some women also like to lie down for these, but I found it much easier standing up and leaning against the kitchen counter. Here was my whole PIO system: 

  • Lean against the kitchen counter and put all your weight on the leg that’s not getting the injection.

  • Ice the injection site for about 5 minutes.

  • Swab it with an alcohol pad.

  • Turn on your Buzzy and place it near the injection site.

  • Take a deep breath and count to 3.

  • On the exhale, administer the shot and breathe out through the whole injection.

  • Massage the injection site; walk around a little to get the oil moving, or if it feels particularly sore sit on a heating pad for a few minutes.

To learn more about how to administer Progesterone in Oil, watch our video tutorial here

9. Expect some setbacks.

Some injections hurt worse than others. But remember that setbacks are normal and part of the IVF process. Hang in there and try to remember that the end goal is having a baby! Hopefully, you won’t even remember these silly injections one day…

Any other tips? How do you make your injections less painful? 

Kristyn Hodgdon is the Co-Founder and Chief Community Officer at Rescripted.