Progesterone is a hormone vital in ovulation and maintenance of pregnancy. Belonging to steroid class, progestogen is mainly produced by the ovary during the initial phases of the pregnancy. When the placenta has developed into a substantial size, it takes over the main production of progesterone. Their level goes up for nine months and then begins to fall, which triggers the onset of labor and delivery.
Many do not really understand the relation between progesterone, pregnancy, and unborn babies. By learning the functions of progesterone in pregnancy, you will get the answers.
Once an egg has ovulated, the tissue (called corpus luteum) holding it begins to produce progesterone. It thickens lining of uterus and makes it suitable for implantation. Conception occurs when an embryo has implanted itself there. Ovary continues to produce progesterone which works to sustain the initial weeks of pregnancy. If implantation does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels drop, the endometrium breaks down and menstruation occurs.
In 2011, FDA approved the use of injecting progesterone starting from 16-20 weeks to prevent preterm labor in women who have had one preterm labor previously. However, it is not suitable for women who are carrying more than one baby or are at risk of a preterm labor but never delivered before.
Given that progesterone is of crucial importance in maintaining a pregnancy, pregnant women should have certain levels of progesterone throughout their term in order to have a normal baby. Let's focus on what these levels are:
1. One to Two Weeks: 1-1.5ng/ml is the amount produced by the ovaries in the first 2 weeks of pregnancy. Pregnancy is counted from the first day of last period.
2. Three to Four Weeks: Level of progesterone produced by the ovary followed by ovulation is around 2ng/ml. Fertilization occurs during 3rd week, increasing the amount of progesterone by 1- 3ng/ml daily. Maximum levels: 10-29ng/ml.
3. Five to Six Weeks: The normal levels are 10-29ng/ml, minimum expected range being 6-10ng/ml. For the progesterone, pregnancy uses it to supply nutritional support to the embryo by increasing the blood supply to the placenta.
4. Seven to Fourteen: By this time the placenta has taken over the production of progesterone. The levels first plateau and then rise towards the end of the first trimester. The range is 15-60g/ml, higher if it's a multiple pregnancy.
Progesterone Levels throughout your menstrual cycle and pregnancy
1. Progesterone during menstrual cycle:
Day 1-14 --- 1 to 1.5ng/ml
Day 15-28 --- 2-28 ng/ml
2. Progesterone during pregnancy
First Trimester --- 9-47 ng/ml
Second Trimester --- 17-147 ng/ml
Third Trimester --- 55-200 ng/ml
Spotting or sparse bleeding may indicate low progesterone levels which increase the chance of having a miscarriage. If progesterone levels are low, loss of pregnancy symptoms and excruciating cramps are also seen. Here are some reasons behind low progesterone levels during pregnancy:
Although rare, one of the causes of low progesterone levels in early pregnancy can be an ectopic pregnancy. This condition occurs due to the misplacement of the blastocyst inside the fallopian tube rather than the uterine wall.
Risk factor of ectopic pregnancy is a constricted fallopian tube, pelvic inflammatory diseases, scar tissues, endometriosis, vaginal bleeding, pelvic, abdominal and lower back pain and dizziness from blood loss.
Ectopic pregnancy is dangerous for the patient and needs immediate medicinal (methotrexate injection) or surgical intervention.
Only if you can maintain normal levels of progesterone, pregnancy can be secured and the uterine lining remains intact with no risk of pregnancy loss. Regular doctor visits as well as opting for a healthy, balanced diet is necessary. On some occasions, progesterone supplements need to be taken before or after pregnancy:
Progesterone supplements can be taken in the following forms:
1. Vaginal products
2. Progesterone oral capsules, which can also be used vaginally, though not formulated nor with FDA approval. Used 3 times daily.
3. Injections: oil-based. Generally used. It is injected into buttocks once a day. This is a most established, old and widely used methods of delivering progesterone.
If you are searching words like "progesterone pregnancy" on the internet, you definitely should know the precautions of taking it during pregnancy. High levels of progesterone in the body can cause various complications during a pregnancy. These include: