Hi, I’m Dr. Aimee. I’m a fertility expert coming to you from California. In my 12+ years as a fertility doctor helping thousands of people get pregnant, the trigger shot isn’t shown enough love. By that, I mean there’s some mystery about what to expect. I want to shed some light on that.
Here are seven things you may not know about the trigger shot
1. The trigger shot contains pregnancy hormone
It’s no surprise then that it may make you feel pregnant — a little bloated, maybe nauseous. Fertility doctors use it to induce ovulation. For that reason, we should really consider renaming it as the “egg-cellerator shot” or the “egg-launcher shot.” Doesn’t that sound much better? It can remain in your system for up to 10 days. It’s important to know this so that if you’re taking a pregnancy test too soon, you may have a false positive pregnancy test because of the trigger shot still in your system. Try not to cause yourself extra stress — wait to take your pregnancy test. Which takes me to #2…
2. After the trigger shot, don’t check for ovulation or for pregnancy
Why do I say this? The ovulation predictor kit (OPK) can be inaccurate. They can make you feel there’s something wrong with you when there really isn’t. I’ve had patients tell me, “Dr. Aimee — I took the OPK test after the trigger shot and it showed nothing.” Meanwhile, I KNOW that I’ve given the patient a trigger shot. It’s just proof that OPKs are not as accurate as you may think they are, or that we’d like for them to be. This is especially true if you’re drinking a lot of water.
3. The trigger shot can be given as an intramuscular or subcutaneous shot
I recommend it as an intramuscular shot for my curvier patients. Your doctor will tell you the best way to take it. Either way, it’s effective!
4. There are different dosages for the trigger shot: 5,000, 6,500, and 10,000 IU
Each brand is different. Your doctor can change the dose if needed. After you take the trigger shot , you can’t predict that you will ovulate exactly 36 hours later. At the follicle check (ultrasound we do to determine when the trigger shot is given), I look at the thickness and texture of the uterine lining, the follicle size(s) and your OPK results to decide the best timing for the shot relative to timed intercourse or your IUI.
5. Taking the trigger shot doesn’t mean that you’re going to ovulate 36 hours later.
Nor does an IUI need to be done exactly 36 hours following a trigger shot.
I have patients who ask not infrequently questions like, “Dr. Aimee, my doctor gave me the trigger shot and did an IUI 34 hours after the trigger shot, is this wrong?” No, it is not.
It’s worth noting that if you’re not using a sperm donor, and having sex is something that you can do, then please do! Aim for the night before your follicle check. We want there to always be sperm waiting for the egg.
6. The trigger shot can actually be given to patients in the office or it can be self-administered at home
I dispense the shot from my office most of the time and tell patients when to take it if I don’t give the shot myself. From there (if pre-mixed) they can simply refrigerate it until they’re ready to use it. If they forget to refrigerate it, it’s not a big deal. Really, it’s no big deal at all!
7. The trigger shot is NOT required!
Did I just say that? I did! While it isn’t essential for a healthy pregnancy, it may help with IUI planning and sex coordination. That’s why we do it! I want to be sensitive to the fact that by the time many people see me they are burned-out and having sex every night may not seem like the easiest route to take. The trigger shot serves its purpose in planning, and for that we are thankful.
I hope that I entertained and informed you about the seven things to know about the trigger shot as you go through fertility treatment. It always feels good to be in the know, and who knows maybe the next time I talk about this we’ll have officially re-named it from the trigger shot to something way more descriptive and exciting.
Thank you and as always I wish you the best wherever you are on your fertility journey.
As always, please comment below or send me a note if you have any questions about this show or if you have a suggested topic for a future show.
You can also catch more of me and topics like this through The Egg Whisperer Show. The episodes are live-streamed on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter and on Wednesdays at 7 PM PST. Subscribe to the podcast too!