Progesterone and pregnancy
Progesterone is a steroid and sex hormone that is involved in the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and development of an embryo. Progesterone is also known as a pregnancy hormone. As it is also obvious from the name, this hormone plays an important role in pregnancy and is essential before and during it.
Progesterone is produced naturally in the body. After the ovulation ends, progesterone production will begin and ovaries will be supplied with it. The hormone prepares body for the pregnancy by thickening the uterine lining. Thickened endometrium is crucial for a successful embryo implantation. If there is no fertilized egg that attaches itself to the uterine lining, the progesterone will drop and the period will begin. Progesterone is responsible for creating a suitable environment for achieving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
During pregnancy, progesterone creates supportive environment and helps to feed the baby. After about 10 weeks of pregnancy, placenta takes over the function of producing progesterone and as a result, the levels of the hormone are increased even more. During gestation progesterone lowers the immune response of the mother’s body and allows the pregnancy to develop and continue smoothly.
Progesterone plays an important role in breast development and preparing mother’s body for the breastfeeding.
While going through the fertility treatment such as in vitro fertilization(IVF) some of the medications may suppress body’s ability to produce the hormone naturally. In this case, doctors often prescribe progesterone supplementation. They are available in various forms such as vaginal gels, creams, inserts, capsules and even injections. The most suitable option will be carefully chosen by the doctor based on patient’s individual condition.
Producing enough progesterone is essential throughout the childbearing years. If the levels drop, it can lead to difficulties in conceiving. During pregnancy, low levels of progesterone may even lead to fatal results and terminate it with miscarriage.
Symptoms of the low progesterone may include:
● Abnormal menstrual periods
● Cramping during pregnancy
There are several ways to support the production of pregnancy hormone or at least to keep the hormonal balance naturally. They include:
● Fueling up on foods that include Vitamins B, C and zinc.
● Maintaining the normal body mass index.
Hormones are balancing each other continually. Same happens with progesterone and estrogen – two of the most important female reproductive hormones.Fat cells produce estrogen. When the body mass index of a person is high,estrogen production increases accordingly. Progesterone on the other hand, remains to the normal levels and therefore is unable to “keep up” with estrogen. This throws the hormonal balance out or order.
● Reducing stress
When body is under the stress, it increases the production of cortisol instead of progesterone. This is another way of disturbing the hormonal balance. Even though reducing stress is a complicated task and is much easier said than done, it is a crucial thing to keep in mind especially when trying to conceive.
Getting a regular sleep can help in reducing stress levels while not getting enough of it will increase the production of stress hormones. This also leads to the hormonal disbalances, so keep in mind to prioritize getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night.