Friends are starting fertility treatments and are somewhat nervous about all the required injections. Since there’s nothing quite like “been there” guidance, I harvested some peer health advice for them and thought I’d post it here in case people had more to share.
First, I thought about whom I would personally turn to for advice. At the top of that list: Halle Tecco, an angel investor who has been open about her parenting journey (including founding Natalist, a company focused on fertility and pregnancy products). I quickly found her post, “Preparing for IVF: 10 Things I Bought For My Egg Retrieval,” and ordered some Cozy Warrior peer-support socks (because “infertility can be a scary road, but it shouldn’t be a lonely one” – Anna Wang, founder). When I complimented Halle on that post, she pointed me to another, which she described as the one she wished she’d had at the start of her fertility journey: “The IVF Funnel: Understanding Your Chances of Success.”
My next move was to talk with a friend who does her own injections as part of her gender-affirming treatments. Her tips were both practical and emotional.
- Drink lots of water before and after.
- Practice the motion, which her doctor described as like throwing a dart: drop back and then a sharp, sudden motion in. The faster the injection, the easier it is to get the needle through the skin and into the injection site, which is the hardest part.
- Warm up the vial by rolling it between your hands. You want it to be as close as possible to your body temperature – it hurts less. She also finds that this grounds her and gets her ready for the injection.
- Pinch the area. Dull pain distracts from the sharp pain of the injection.
- Create a ritual. Listen to favorite music or have a favorite show on.
- Manifest what you want to achieve. Focus on why you are doing this injection.
- Take a few deep, centering breaths to relax.
- Do something nice afterward to create positive reinforcement with getting the injection done.
A quick Google of “IVF injection tips” yielded:
- Tips from former patients (of a clinic in Oklahoma)
- A very specific step by step guide to subcutaneous injection written by a nurse.
A common theme to all the guides I saw: Don’t be shy about asking your clinicians for help. They know you are not experts on injections and it’s totally OK to ask for training – or a refresher if you’ve been trained before.
Now, your turn. Do you have tips to share about injections? Please comment below.
Image: A bee harvests pollen from a bright yellow flower. By Carandoom on Flickr.
Throwback: Longtime readers may remember this post from 2008, “E-patient Interview: Stirrup Queen.”
Not sure if these fall into the practical vs emotional category, but these “prickle pads” — as some of my patients call them — seem to help for those who need to feel the poke less. https://www.schoolhealth.com/shotblocker-needle-relief?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&adpos=&scid=scplp36318&sc_intid=36318&gclid=Cj0KCQiAw9qOBhC-ARIsAG-rdn66MXpCMQOMOsqWKfJ8ZhbXsl4FXLa0-pKEaBmZl8dd5ASlImhyKWAaArwZEALw_wcB
Susannah Fox says
(Update: Halle shared a link to “Buzzy4Shots” on Twitter — it’s also worth a look.)
Danny van Leeuwen says
Check out Amy Baxter of Pain Care Labs https://www.linkedin.com/in/amybaxtermd
Susannah Fox says
Thanks, Danny! I clicked through and saw that her team developed Buzzy, the product that Halle recommended. Very cool!
Health Tech Austin says
Hello Susannah, a collaborator of ours, Natalie Crawford, MD, has a great YouTube channel with practical tips and commentary.
Susannah Fox says
Joanna Buscemi wrote a guide to coping with the stress of IVF for the Society of Behavioral Medicine:
I appreciate her advice to manage your distress tolerance, which is “a person’s ability to manage actual or perceived emotional distress. It also involves being able to make it through an emotional incident without making it worse” – a quote from this article:
Great stuff for anyone going through something that feels out of their control.