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Week 31: Progesterone ponderings

Week 31: Progesterone ponderings

I feel a bit like a ticking time bomb. I’m out of town visiting my family, and all I can think about is getting another week further along in my pregnancy and keeping this baby inside my belly. Most women have no issue traveling, even until 36 weeks, in their pregnancy, but not me, my...

All the essentials for my weekly injections: medicine, syringes, needles and my trusty husband-nurse.

All the essentials for my weekly injections: medicine, syringes, needles and my trusty husband-nurse.


I feel a bit like a ticking time bomb. I’m out of town visiting my family, and all I can think about is getting another week further along in my pregnancy and keeping this baby inside my belly. Most women have no issue traveling, even until 36 weeks, in their pregnancy, but not me, my friends. I had the somewhat unique experience of delivering my first child at 34 weeks, zero days gestation, so each week has been a big old accomplishment in my book.
So, in order to try and ensure that this little one stays put until March, my doctor started me on progesterone shots (or P17 injections) every week since I was 16 weeks along. If you don’t know anything about progesterone, it is a hormone in your body that research shows starts to decrease sharply once you go into labor. So the theory for us mamas that didn’t make it to full-term with a previous pregnancy is: if you pump us full of progesterone each week, we will, in theory, stay pregnant longer.
When my doctor first brought up the injections, I wasn’t thrilled. I’m not great with needles or shots and the thought of having one every week while we moved across the country during this pregnancy sounded about as fun as cleaning a public restroom. But the doctor said the only alternative was nightly vaginal suppositories … um … BRING ON THE NEEDLES!
So, we started to make arrangements to purchase the medicine (ugh, not cheap and not entirely covered by insurance) and figure out how I would get my injections each week. But, with traveling and moving, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get my injections at a doctor’s office each time, so my doctor said he could train my husband to give them to me. This is about how the training session went:
Nurse (to my husband): “So, you think you’ll be OK with giving her the shots? Some husbands have trouble giving shots to their own wives.”
My loving, kind and oh so compassionate husband: “I mean, I vaccinated 800 goats while I was on a mission trip in Africa a few years back, so how hard could it be?”
Oh, brother.
But despite his comic routine in the doctor’s office, he has done a great job. Each week he meticulously draws the super thick medicine and injects it for a painfully long amount of time (or what seems like a painfully long amount of time—it is really only 10 seconds) into my hip. The progesterone is so thick that you have to use big needles in order to make sure it all makes it into your system. With the exception of a few small meltdowns I’ve had from him not being as gentle as I would like, the injections have gone pretty well and so far, they seem to be working. I’ve had a recent ultrasound that showed no signs of preterm labor.
Despite all the things I know we are doing to try and prevent another preterm birth, I still can’t help but wonder if we will make it past the magical 34 weeks that we delivered at the first time around.
Any concerns for preterm labor with your pregnancy? Are you on the P17 injections?