Navigating IVF When You’re Scared of Needles
The in vitro fertilization (IVF) process requires many carefully orchestrated steps. Unfortunately, many of them involve needles. If a fear of needles makes you scared to do IVF, you can still confidently navigate the process with this helpful guide.
What is Trypanophobia?
The fear of needles is a common condition that can escalate to trypanophobia, the extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles. Up to 25% of adults may experience some form of trypanophobia in their lifetime.
Understandably, trypanophobia makes many women scared to do IVF. But the good news is you can take steps before and after each shot to help alleviate your fears and minimize the pain.
The Difference Between Intramuscular and Subcutaneous Injections
To start, educate yourself on the different injections and IVF injection sites. Learning about the differences will help you mentally and physically prepare for the journey ahead.
- Subcutaneous injections: These injections go right under the skin and use small needles and syringes. They’re so small you might not even feel them! The injection site for IVF subcutaneous injections is usually the back of your arm or thigh.
- Intramuscular injections: Unlike subcutaneous injections, these shots go directly into the muscle. They use larger syringes and needles. The injection site for this IVF medication is your upper/outer buttocks.
Before you start any injections, work with your fertility pharmacy to understand the specific instructions for each medication. They’ll thoroughly overview injection sites for subcutaneous and intramuscular injections and provide a helpful calendar outlining the timing.
Pro Tips if You Have a Fear of Needles
Even after your initial consultation, you may still be apprehensive. Feelings of trypanophobia are fair considering what lies ahead, but these tips will help you work through your fear of needles.
- Rotate injection sites to help minimize soreness and bruising.
- Try numbing these sites. For subcutaneous injections, use ice. For intramuscular injections, use heat 10 minutes before and after.
- Before you start, take a deep, relaxing breath. Fear and anxiety can tighten your muscles, resulting in a more painful experience.
- Get help if you need it! Your partner or clinic can assist with some or all injections as you work through your fears.
- During the injection, make sure to get all air bubbles out of the syringe, check that the needle is lined up correctly going in and out, and always insert the needle quickly.
- Check with your fertility pharmacy about when you can use targeted pressure and massage to help spread the medication beyond the IVF injection site. This helps prevent painful lumps.
Set Rewards for Conquering Trypanophobia
If you’re scared to do IVF, brainstorm rewards to motivate you through the process. A luxurious coffee order, a beautiful bouquet of flowers, or lunch with a friend can keep you focused along the way.
Every successful subcutaneous and intramuscular injection is a reason to celebrate! Make each shot a milestone to help boost your confidence for future tests and procedures.
Feel Prepared and Confident with Mandell’s Clinical Pharmacy
At Mandell’s Clinical Pharmacy, we believe you have what it takes to face your fear of needles. Our detailed medication instructions and video tutorials will help confidently guide you through each step. Access our free medication resources.