6 Things You Should Know About Progesterone and Pregnancy
Studies found that progesterone relates to various complications of pregnancy. Understanding progesterone levels during pregnancy is important for you to take caution and have a healthy nine months.
What is progesterone?
Progesterone is a hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle, aiding conception and maintaining the pregnancy. It is produced in the early stages of pregnancy by the ovaries to prepare uterine lining for the implantation of a fertilized egg. And later on, it is produced by the placenta to nourish the embryo till childbirth.
Normal progesterone level chart
It is best to know which progesterone levels during pregnancy are normal.
When you are not pregnant, your progesterone level will stay below 5-10 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter).
When you are pregnant, your doctor would want to see your progesterone levels at least at 10 ng/ml or more to have a good pregnancy.
From the first trimester, your progesterone levels will increase tremendously.
- First trimester (Week 1-13): 9-47 ng/ml
- Second trimester (Week 14-26): 17-147 ng/ml
- Third trimester (Week 27-40): 50-200 ng/ml
After delivery or abortion progesterone level is decreased massively fast.
Is Low Progesterone Level During Pregnancy Dangerous?
Yes, it is. According to the US National Library of Medicine, there are links between low progesterone level and miscarriage or preterm labor. Without sufficient progesterone levels, the body can’t carry the baby to term.
Causes of low progesterone:
As mentioned above, low progesterone is dangerous to your pregnancy. Learning about what causes low progesterone levels can help you find suitable solutions to increase its levels so at least you can have some peace of mind. These causes include:
- Age: progesterone level drops as age increases.
- Stress: High stress levels may cause lower progesterone.
- Decreased function of ovaries
- Menopause (the period in woman’s life when menstruation ceases)
- Hysterectomy (when all or part of the womb is removed)
- Repeated miscarriage
- Previous stillbirth and prematurity
- Estrogen dominance: Too much estrogen will lower the amount of progesterone. This happens when you use contraceptive pills, eating hormone impregnated foods such as poultry, beef, pork, dairy products, and exposure to environmental substances containing chemicals which mimic estrogen in the body.
How Do You Know You Have Low Progesterone?
When you experience the symptoms below, it’s time for you to visit your doctor to get your progesterone level tested.
When you are not pregnant, you may have these symptoms:
- Headache or migraines
- Anxiety, depression and other mood changes
- Hot flashes
- Low sex drive
- Irregular or missed periods
If you are expecting, low progesterone signs include:
- Spotting (light vaginal bleeding)
- Abnormal pain
- Constant breast tenderness
- Unrelenting fatigue
- Vaginal dryness
- Frequent blow blood sugar
The sooner you discuss these symptoms with your doctor, the faster your progesterone levels get monitored, the higher the chance you save your pregnancy.
Is It Safe to Use Progesterone Support During Pregnancy?
According to evidences provided by Pope Paul VI Institute through their extensive research, it is safe to use progesterone support in pregnancy. You may have some side effects such as fatigue, headaches, mood swings and constipation. However, compared with its role in maintaining pregnancy and preventing miscarriage, these side effects are just minor. Progesterone support is especially helpful for women with history of infertility and miscarriage.
Another piece of good news- on February 3, 2011, the FDA (U.S Food and Drug Administration) approved the use of progesterone to prevent recurrent preterm birth.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information listed two types of progesterone supplementation:
- Synthetic Progestins: Given by injection
- Natural Progesterone: They include powders, capsules, gels, creams and can be given vaginally, orally and injected.
Depending on your test result, your doctor will advise which the best remedy that suits you is. Do not buy products over the counter without consulting your doctor.
Still, there are some conditions you should not take the supplementation:
- Allergy to progesterone or any of its inactive ingredients
- Have a history of blood clots
- Have breast or genital cancer
- Have liver disease
- Have had an abortion or ectopic pregnancy (the embryo attaches outside the uterus)
- Have lost consciousness or ability to function normally after a stroke
- Have bleeding problems
Low progesterone level can have a big impact on your chance of getting and staying pregnant. However, it can be manageable if you take the right steps: understand the role of progesterone hormone in your body as well as progesterone levels during pregnancy, detect signs and symptoms of low progesterone level, talk to your doctor, take a blood test and follow the treatment.
And, it is always the best that you balance your lifestyle, exercise and build good eating habits, eating organic foods also help to increase your progesterone level.