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10 Side Effects of Progesterone Shots for IVF

I’m two days away from finding out if my latest embryo transfer was successful. Of course I’m trying really hard to stay hopeful and positive, but I’m just not “feeling” like I’m pregnant. I don’t mean that I don’t feel any pregnancy symptoms; I know there’s no way to feel any of those this soon. I mean that innate feeling you always hear women talk about when they say, “I just knew I was pregnant.” I’m not feeling that. At all. A reader reminded me that last time I was certain that I was pregnant, and I wasn’t. So maybe this time I don’t think I am but I’ll find out I am. Who knows…

I’m doing everything my docs are telling me to do. I’ve gotten to that point (so unlike when I first began this journey 17 months ago) where I’ll practically do anything they tell me to do if it just might up my chances at a successful pregnancy. That includes progesterone injections this cycle, which I’ll take for a full 9 weeks if I am pregnant.

The theory behind taking progesterone shots for IVF which are once-a-night intramuscular shots with a 1 and 1/2 inch needle that go into my backside right above my rear end and right below where my muffin top starts is that progesterone gives support to the lining of the uterus and is needed to maintain an early pregnancy. Since there may not be enough progesterone made by the ovary during an IVF cycle (and especially an FET cycle like mine), more progesterone is often given.

But, like everything on this wild and crazy fertility journey, it brings its own set of side effects. These are mine. Fun times. Well, not really…

  • Hoping It’s For a Purpose! 1 of 11
    Progesterone for IVF

    Click through to see my 10 side effects of progesterone for IVF.

    Original Photo: iStockphoto

  • Vivid Dreams 2 of 11
    Progesterone for IVF

    My dreams have been so incredibly vivid. Not necessarily good or bad dreams, just vivid. And a lot have to do with water. Or bugs. I wake up most morning needing to take a few minutes to process that none of it was real. That's how vivid they are! 

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Increased Facial Hair 3 of 11
    Progesterone for IVF

    OK, so I don't totally look like the woman in this picture, but pretty close. The few, light hairs on my upper lip and chin have turned into an almost-full-on mustache and beard of dark, thick hair.  

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Total Impatience 4 of 11
    Progesterone for IVF

    I'm not the most patient person to begin with, but the progesterone has pushed me to a whole new level of intolerance and impatience. The littlest thing can send me quickly and easily over the edge. 

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Cramping 5 of 11
    Progesterone for IVF

    The cramps aren't too serious, but they are definitely very different from period cramps. They're deeper and stronger. I'm really hoping some of them are from implantation and not just all from the progesterone! 

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Wicked Hunger 6 of 11
    Progesterone for IVF

    I eat just about every two hours during the day, and have been good for two smaller but legit lunches almost since the progesterone shots began I'd say about four days in. My coworkers think I'm nuts; thank goodness they know what I'm up to otherwise they'd probably think something was seriously wrong with me. 

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Tired. All. The. Time. 7 of 11
    Progesterone for IVF

    I feel like I could take a nap at any given moment of the day. Also, the fact that I'm tired all the time from the shots doesn't mix well with my lack of patience. 

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Lightheaded + Dizzy 8 of 11
    Progesterone for IVF

    This is my biggest complaint. If I stand up too quickly. If I get out of bed too fast. If I walk up the stairs two at a time. I get lightheaded. And since passing out is a fear of mine, this side effect kicks up my anxiety. 

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Sore Backside 9 of 11
    Progesterone for IVF

    The injection sites right above my butt and right below my muffin top, on each side are itchy during the day and also incredibly sore. It feels like a sore muscle. Ice has seemed to help a little, but not that much. 

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Weight Loss 10 of 11
    Progesterone for IVF

    Since I started this journey 17 months ago, I've gained 12 pounds. It's the first time in my life that I've ever gained weight. I sure have gained some serious sympathy for people who struggle with their weight, because this sucks. Not fitting into my clothes is frustrating, and I'm hesitant to buy new because I keep hoping I'll be pregnant next cycle! But the progesterone has actually knocked off almost two pounds over the past 11 days. Not really sure how that works when I'm eating so much, but who am I to question? 

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Pimples 11 of 11
    Progesterone for IVF

    Ugh. This side effect has been part of every single medication and hormone I've taken over the course of my fertility journey. Most of the time, I have at least two small but reddish zits anywhere on my face. I can't wait to have my skin back! Though I've been told pregnancy can forever change your skin. I wouldn't care if that were the case, because it'd totally be worth it! 

    Photo: iStockphoto

Read more of Aela’s writing on Babble and at Two Moms Make a Right

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MORE ON BABBLE:
7 Hard Truths About Trying to Conceive and IVF
What It’s Like to Give Up Your Body to IVF Meds
5 Side Effects of Estrogen for IVF

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