What is Progesterone?
Progesterone is a hormone that glands in a woman’s body create to control her menstruation and reproduction. Progesterone is made right before ovulation to increase a woman’s odds of becoming pregnant. It works by increasing a woman’s body temp by a small amount and producing extra vaginal mucus increasing the odds of sperm reaching the egg for fertilization.
When a woman gets pregnant, this hormone is shifted to the baby in the 8th week. If she doesn’t, it causes the uterus to shed the lining it’s saved for pregnancy, this is the menstrual cycle. Progesterone also aids in blood clotting, immunity, thyroid gland production, builds strength in the bones, makes collagen and regulates nerve function.
How is Progesterone Important to My Pregnancy?
During pregnancy the progesterone created by the corpus luteum ( a gland over your ovary) is critical. As a pregnancy progresses, more and more of this progesterone is needed to safely take care of the baby in your womb, without it or with too little of it your pregnancy won’t be able to be carried full term.
There are many women with fertility and implantation issues or who have experienced miscarriages that are experiencing these problems because they produce low levels of progesterone. These women often need to take a progesterone supplement to increase progesterone levels enough to maintain a pregnancy.
Signs & Symptoms of Low Levels of Progesterone
• Spotting: Light pink to red blood or mucus when you wipe after using the toilet. Although spotting can be a normal part of pregnancy in the first trimester it should always be reported to your doctor because it is also the first sign of miscarriage.
• Constant Fatigue: You sleep often and don’t feel refreshed by it.
• Vaginal Dryness: The body produces less mucus than it should.
• Cramping: Feeling cramps like those experiences before and during a menstrual cycle.
• Low Blood Sugar: You may feel light-headed and need to eat more often to evade feeling unwell.
• Unexplained Weight Gain: Your weight may fluctuate without changes in diet or exercise.
• Memory Loss: You may have trouble remembering things that you didn’t before.
• Panic Attacks: You panic over stress, possibly experiencing paranoia and worrying often.
• Breast Tenderness: Your breasts don’t react well to being handled and may be sore.
You will notice that many of these symptoms are also symptoms associated with a normal pregnancy. As a result the only real way to be certain if you have low progesterone is to ask your doctor to test progesterone levels as soon as you are pregnant. If you were experiencing any of these symptoms before pregnancy you have a very high chance of having low progesterone. Unfortunately even with supplements there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to keep your baby. Many doctors feel that low progesterone levels may be a symptom of miscarriage due to abnormalities with the fetus or pregnancy that can’t be avoided.