Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Q&A: Progesterone Shots

Question from Angela:

I am starting my 17th week and will be starting the progesterone shots in two weeks. I am a little nervous because this is my first time with trying them. Did you have any side effects from the shots?


I was pretty nervous about the progesterone shots because every doctor who told me about them said that they were oil-based and hurt like heck.  They said that they would leave me bruised for 3-4 days and I had to have the shot every week, which left very little time for not being in pain.  It’s a shot given in your butt, so you alternate cheeks every week (I know, that was very nicely put).

I got my first shot a bit late – at 20 weeks (I was supposed to start at 18 weeks).  I was so nervous I was shaking (I really don’t like shots) as the midwife got it ready.  She was showing my husband how to do it so that he could do them at home and I wouldn’t have to go into the office every week.  I prepared myself for the very worst shot of my life, but luckily my midwife knew a great trick.  After using the alcohol strip she applied pressure with her thumb for about 10-15 seconds to numb me up a bit (she pushed hard enough that it hurt) and then did the shot right when she let off.  Amazingly, it didn’t hurt near as bad as I had expected!  Yes, it hurt like any shot, but it was certainly bearable.  I was a bit tender sitting down for maybe a day, but I could avoid it hurting very much if I laid on the opposite side of the shot at night.  Every time I’ve gotten a steroid shot it’s hurt worse than the progesterone shots did.

The funny thing is, the shots were different almost every week.  Sometimes I would feel nothing but the prick and I wouldn’t even be sore afterward, and sometimes it would hurt pretty good and throb for an hour or so afterward.  In fact I remember one time that it actually did hurt for 3-4 days; that was very unusual.  After a few weeks of the shot I either got used to being a bit tender or it didn’t hurt as much because I didn’t really think about it between shots.  Strangely enough, my left cheek almost never hurt when I got the shot and my right cheek almost always hurt, so sometimes I could plan for a painful or a not painful shot depending on the side I was on.  Also, two times out of the 17 weeks of shots I got very light-headed and almost blacked out just as my husband finished the shot.  I don’t know what was different those times, but I might have had my knees locked.  So, I would recommend doing the shots next to your bed or a table or dresser that you can lean on in case you get a little light-headed.

Other than being a bit sore after the shot and sometimes getting light-headed I never had any other side effects from the shots.  I’ve never heard of anyone else having other side effects, either.  They got easier and easier and they’re really a very small sacrifice if it gets you a full-term baby.  Progesterone shots and bedrest helped me make it to full-term with my third pregnancy, and after having two micro preemies there’s no question as to whether it was worth it!  I will get the shots again for my next pregnancy without a doubt.

I hope this helped, Angela, and good luck to you!

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. Thanks Afton! It is nice to know a little bit of what to expect. I completely agree that if I can make it to term and take my baby home with me it will be so worth it.

  2. I had progesterone shots twice a week while I was pregnant with my daughter, after having 2 miscarriages a year apart, between her and her older brother. The shots were put into my hips and not so much the shots themselves, but just having to get them was what wore me out. But now my daughter is 15 years old and there are no effects from the shots to me or her. But I do wonder now, as I have to take progesterone pills at this time to stop abnormal bleeding, if there is a connection. Probably not, but the thought hit me today. hmmm 🙂

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