The ups and downs of getting progesterone shots during pregnancy

I can now stand back and look at three big lessons I’m taking away.

The ups and downs of getting progesterone shots during pregnancy

Our first son, Max, decided to arrive in the world early at 31 weeks 6 days (the neonatologists are pretty specific about this). We spent an emotionally draining but relatively “easy” month in the NICU before we could bring him home.

Now he’s 3 years old and his growth chart looks like the stock market during the dot-com boom.

When we got pregnant with our second baby, doctors started talking to me about progesterone injections to help prevent pre-term labor. My doctor told me the shots provide a 70% risk reduction for women who had pre-term labor before 34 weeks.

The shots would be weekly starting around 16 weeks and end at 36 weeks. The doctors and the literature said they could be painful, uncomfortable and expensive.

As someone known to faint while getting shots, I was nervous and unsure if it was worth the downsides. My husband, James, and I weighed the pros and cons. I researched progesterone alternatives (suppositories, pills, etc.) and started looking online for other moms who might have made the choice to get these shots so I could understand their experience. Unfortunately, besides internet discussion forums that seemed only to share extreme and emotional opinions, I didn’t find much.

After a ton of research, we decided to do the shots.

I learned that the company that makes the progesterone injection offers co-pay assistance. Our financial cost wouldn’t be zero, but it would be a small price to pay if we could try to avoid being in the NICU again.

At the time of writing, I’m two days past due and our baby girl is still inside and kickin’ (literally)! So even though the doctors can’t say for certain if the shots contributed to having a normal length pregnancy, I can now stand back and look at three big lessons I’m taking away:

1. You gotta do what you gotta do

Moms are incredible at multitasking. This has been written about on every mom blog out there. We’re always seeking balance between home, work, friends, “me time”, family, etc. When something unexpected comes our way, we tend to say “just add it to the list,” and it gets done. There might be some stress, some complaining, but we do it.

So the shots were going to hurt. They might be expensive (depending on our insurance and what type of co-pay assistance we could get). They might not even work! But if they did, then James and I would have peace of mind that we were doing what we could to help our baby; plus, we’d save emotional and financial resources from being in the NICU again.

So honey, my pants are down, my tush is bare, let’s do this.

2. You develop a new type of closeness with your partner

I had two options for getting the shot: go into the doctor’s office each week to have the nurse administer it or have my husband or another relative do it. My husband is not a medical professional. It made me nervous to think about him giving me a shot. That must have rubbed off on him, because he was nervous too. But after a few weeks of going to the doctor’s office, James said he could learn.

So he went with me to watch the nurse administer it and the next week she coached him through it. The first few times he did it at home, it wasn’t pleasant. Let’s just say he hadn’t quite refined his technique, which made everything a little stressful. He felt bad for hurting me, and I felt bad that he felt bad. But then he got better and we laughed our way through it because he made up limericks and rhymes that made me laugh and took my mind off it for the split second it took to administer (i.e. “I stick my cutie in the booty because it’s my duty”).

After a few weeks he was almost better than the nurses and I turned to him one night—my high school sweetheart and husband of eight years—and said, “This is something completely new for us!” These shots, a second baby, a normal pregnancy—it was all new for us.

They brought up new questions, new stressors, newfound humor and newfound appreciation for each other.

3. #Treatyoself

After my first shot, I went to the store and bought a new shirt. That wasn’t necessary for all 20 weeks, but I did want to have something positive to balance out the shot. James started bringing home truffles from a local chocolatier each week. One week I got myself a slice of cheesecake because, why not? #pregnancycravings #treatyoself. After the last shot we played Hamilton’s ‘My Shot’ and shared chocolate covered strawberries.

If you’re going to roll up your sleeves, or in this case, pull down your pants, then you might as well indulge a little each week, too.

I can’t speak for everyone—we each have to make the decision that works best for ourselves— but I do hope I shed some light for other mom’s considering a progesterone injection.

Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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