Progesterone is a hormone that the ovaries produce to help the uterus prepare for pregnancy and help to maintain the pregnancy once it begins. Women that have low progesterone levels find that it can be hard to conceive or could be at a higher risk for miscarriage. Understanding what could cause lower progesterone levels can help you take any necessary preventative measures that could help you have a safe pregnancy.
How Does Progesterone Affect Your Pregnancy?
Progesterone may affect your pregnancy in the following ways:
- Prepare the uterine lining for implantation
- Help regulate your menstrual cycle
- Make your body in a higher temperature from the end of ovulation and through menstruation
- Thicken the uterine lining to ensure a successful pregnancy
- Increase arterial blood and glycogen in the uterine lining to ensure rich nutrients for the baby
- Thicken the cervix and create a mucous plug to prevent bacteria entering the uterus
- Prevent uterine contractions
What Are Normal Progesterone Levels in Early Pregnancy?
1. One to Two Weeks. During the first two weeks, your body will still produce progesterone from the ovaries at about 1-1.5ng/ml. Regardless of the fact that you are not in pregnancy yet, your pregnancy life is measured from the first day of your last menstrual period because your body will already be preparing forpregnancy. In most cases, the release of a fertilized egg will occur in the last two weeks of gestational.
2. Three to Four Weeks. After ovulation, the endocrines in the ovaries will start to produce progesterone, at an increased level of 2ng/ml or higher. This will stimulate your uterine lining and thicken in preparation for the fertilized egg implanting here. At some point during the third week of gestational, fertilization will occur, which will increase the amount of progesterone your body produces. The level of progesterone will get increased by 1-3ng/ml per day or every other day with its possible peak of 10-29ng/ml.
3. Five to Six Weeks. During 5 to 6 weeks of your pregnancy, progesterone level in a range of 10-29ng/ml is normal, and some doctors expect at least a range of 6-10ng/ml at this stage of pregnancy. In this period progesterone is used by the body to maintain a healthy pregnancy in the uterus by nourishing the embryo, stimulating uterine blood vessel growth and creating a functioning placenta. You might notice a “pregnancy glow” to the skin as a result of higher progesterone levels, though for some moms this can cause itchiness or a rash.
4. Seven to Fourteen Weeks. During this time the placenta will also start to produce progesterone and will start to replace the ovaries as the main source of progesterone. This will cause the progesterone levels in the body to plateau though they will start to rise again at the end of the first trimester. It is common to see progesterone levels around 15-60ng/ml but those experiencing a multiple pregnancy will have higher levels. The body will use this hormone to relax the muscles so your body can manage your growing baby more easily. This will also help to prevent contractions too early in your pregnancy. Very high levels of progesterone might cause hemorrhoids, indigestion, heartburn or constipation.
Furthermore, progesterone in different trimesters can vary from at a range of as follows:
First trimester: 9-47ng/ml
Second trimester: 17-147 ng/ml
Third trimester: 55-200 ng/ml
Low Progesterone Level in Early Pregnancy
1. What Is Low Progesterone Level? Progesterone is measured throughout the first trimester to test for the risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Current research suggests that progesterone levels lower than 6-10ng/ml by the 6th week of gestational indicates an unviable pregnancy. Those that are worried about low progesterone levels can request a blood test from their doctor. Results are usually available within one day. Women have had 3 times or more miscarriages occurring within 20 weeks may need progesterone treatments to prevent miscarriage in their current pregnancy.
2. Causes and Signs. Low progesterone levels are one of the top causes of miscarriage. Signs of miscarriage will begin with spotting or light bleeding which appears on toilet paper or in your underwear. Bleeding is caused by a shedding of the uterine lining because of decreased progesterone levels. This may be accompanied by a loss of pregnancy symptoms or severe cramping. If any of these symptoms occur, you should call your doctor immediately to test the viability of your pregnancy. In some cases spotting may not be a sign of miscarriage. If progesterone levels are found to be normal, the pregnancy will likely to carry on continuously.
3. Remedies. You can get vaginal suppository, injection, micronized oral pills or creams for progesterone supplements. Your body can absorb vaginal suppositories best which followed by injections and oral forms. Besides, you should use a prescription rather than an over the counter remedy, because these do not usually contain much progesterone and will not be very effective. It is not suggested to use synthetic progesterone in pregnancy, which can be found in some hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills. If you have been put on progesterone do not stop taking it until your doctor tells you to.