Progesterone and Pregnancy

An essential part of a healthy pregnancy is progesterone. It is vital in preparing the uterine wall for a fertilized egg, as well as maintaining a healthy placenta and fetus.

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Before pregnancy, progesterone is vital for fertilization to occur. A good progesterone level during ovulation should be between eight and ten ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter), but can go as high as 20 and still be normal.

Too much progesterone can cause the uterine wall to thicken, making it difficult for the egg to adhere to the wall or for the sperm to get through to the egg. This is how many birth control pills function.

If a woman is showing signs of infertility, it could be caused by a lack of progesterone. This can be resolved with the use of progesterone supplements, such as progesterone cream or progesterone suppositories .

After the first trimester, the placenta begins to produce its own estrogen and progesterone. This means that even if you have a normally low progesterone level, pregnancy will typically cause a dramatic increase.


Progesterone during pregnancy should increase dramatically, usually with a desired level of 10 to 16 ng/ml. This is especially important in the early stages of pregnancy. If the progesterone level in pregnancy is low, many doctors will recommend supplements to help raise them in the first trimester. Usually, these are creams, suppositories, or injections, but rarely oral progesterone.

A high progesterone level is desired because of the many functions it serves throughout the pregnancy. It helps build a strong endometrial wall and placenta, prepares the pelvis for birth, helps with the development of breast tissues, and restricts early lactation and contractions. However, high levels of progesterone also help cause some of the less pleasant aspects of pregnancy, such as constipation, stomach problems, and headaches.

Although it is a vital component of a healthy pregnancy, most doctors believe it is unlikely that a miscarriage can be caused by low progesterone levels. Usually, an abnormal decline in progesterone is a symptom of another factor causing a miscarriage. Still, progesterone levels can fluctuate widely, even during pregnancy, so a drop in progesterone one day may be followed by an increase the next. Also, it is very rare to have two consecutive miscarriages, so having a low progesterone level during a pregnancy that miscarried does not indicate the level of the progesterone during the next.

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