Progesterone: The Pregnancy Hormone

Progesterone is frequently referred to as the “pregnancy hormone” because of the role it plays in conceiving and sustaining a pregnancy. The hormone progesterone prepares the uterus to receive and retain a fertilised egg.

Progesterone levels are often low during the first few days of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Her progesterone level rises for five days after she ovulates, then falls. It helps the uterus prepare to receive, implant, and sustain a fertilised egg during pregnancy. The hormone stops muscular contractions in the uterus from rejecting an egg.

If you become pregnant, the hormone aids in the creation of a nurturing environment for the unborn child. Between the 9th and 32nd weeks of pregnancy, your progesterone level will gradually rise. By keeping the uterine muscle relaxed and assisting the immune system in tolerating foreign DNA, progesterone is essential in providing the ideal environment for the ovaries to nurture the foetus. This hormone may need to be supplied when a woman undergoes IVF or some other reproductive treatment. Ovarian follicles in women may also be underdeveloped and produce insufficient progesterone on their own. Progesterone will also need to be supplemented in these situations.

Progesterone Production and the Placenta

After 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy, the placenta (the organ within the uterus that supplies oxygen and nutrition to the growing baby) will start producing progesterone to assist keep the baby healthy. The placenta now produces more progesterone than your ovaries. Throughout your pregnancy, high levels of progesterone cause your body to cease creating eggs and prepare your breasts for milk production.

Progesterone Tests and Fertility Issues

If you’re having trouble conceiving, your doctor may suggest a progesterone blood test to see if you’re ovulating and your ovaries are healthy.

If your progesterone level is low yet you’re pregnant, your doctor may suggest a blood test to see if your pregnancy is at risk for issues including miscarriage or premature birth.

The following signs and symptoms may suggest that you have a low progesterone level:

  • Uterine bleeding
  • Missing your periods or having abnormal periods
  • Spotting and pain while pregnant
  • Repeated miscarriages

A lack of progesterone can lead to an excess of oestrogen. A high oestrogen level might reduce sexual desire, induce weight gain, and harm your gallbladder. 

Progesterone Treatment Delivery Systems

Progesterone treatments come in the following forms:

  • Vaginal suppositories
  • Vaginal gel
  • Vaginal inserts
  • Injections

Before Pregnancy

Progesterone aids in the preparation of the uterus for pregnancy prior to conception.

During early pregnancy, the hormone progesterone is released, which helps the uterus prepare for pregnancy. It initiates the luteal phase, thickening the endometrium (uterine lining) in preparation for the implantation of an embryo. When a female’s egg is fertilised by a male’s sperm, the outcome is an embryo. The fertilised embryo will generally reach the uterus 5 days after ovulation if you are trying to get pregnant. It will then adhere to the uterine wall two days later. Progesterone levels reach their maximum once it adheres to the uterine wall. Progesterone supplementation is usually used in conjunction with IVF to assist the fertilised embryo connect to the uterine wall.

During pregnancy

hCG is produced when a woman gets pregnant (human chorionic gonadotropin hormone). This tells the ovaries to keep making progesterone. hCG stops a woman’s menses (the blood and materials released during ovulation) from starting and allows her to get pregnant. The foetus is then nurtured as progesterone production continues. The placenta takes over progesterone production at 8-10 weeks of pregnancy and continues to boost it until the baby is delivered.

Side Effects of Progesterone During Pregnancy

The male hormone testosterone is used to make synthetic progesterone. When getting progesterone therapy, double-check that you’re not getting synthetic progesterone. If you’re thinking about using progesterone during pregnancy, talk to your doctor first.

Common progesterone side effects in women include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fluid retention or bloating
  • Hot flashes
  • Depression
  • Vaginal discharge.
  • Urinary problems
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Headaches
  • Breast tenderness
  • Joint pain


When determining which supplements are right for you, it’s crucial to consult with your doctor. Progesterone is a critical part of infertility treatment since it helps with implantation and conception. Health care practitioners typically have a preference based on their experience with different techniques, which can assist you in determining which supplements is ideal for your infertility treatment.


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