Progesterone is the hormone responsible for regulating women’s menstrual cycle. This hormone and estrogens maintains the balance of women’s monthly periods. Men also produce a small amount of this hormone for sexual maturity, but not as important as testosterone. It plays an important part in the overall reproduction process, most especially in women.
The body produces progesterone just before ovulation. This happens to enhance the possibility of getting pregnant. When the body’s progesterone level rises, it causes a slight increase in the body temperature and increases vaginal mucus. The body does this so that sperm has more chances of surviving and reaching the fertilized egg.
If a woman becomes pregnant, progesterone levels rise and becomes responsible for developing the placenta for the egg. However, if a woman does not become pregnant, the progesterone level declines after ovulation. It produces an amount just enough to shed the uterine lining.
During the early stages of pregnancy, it is important to have the right levels of progesterone in the body because it will help hold the embryo in place. The normal range of progesterone levels at week 4 to 6 is at 12-20 nanogram per millilitre (ng/ml). It is possible to have lower levels and this might hold a risk to the pregnancy. Ask your physician about chemical forms of this hormone.
During weeks 7 to the end of the first trimester, the progesterone levels continue to rise from 9-47 ng/ml. And throughout the pregnancy, the hormonal level will continue to rise to support the developing fetus in the uterus.
Progesterone is essential in a woman’s life. Other than regulating monthly periods and hold pregnancy, it also serves other functions in the body. It helps reduce swelling and inflammation, stimulates and regulates production of the thyroid gland, aids in immunity and maintains blood-clotting levels at normal values.