Progesterone Level During Pregnancy - Uses & Side Effects

progesterone tablets during pregnancy

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Congratulations! So the good news is confirmed. Now that you know you have a little one growing inside you, you can’t wait to do all the best you can.

While pregnancy brings a ton of joy and expectations, it also brings with it worries and discomfort. You may want to do the best for your baby, but may be worried and confused. One such worry that you may come across is in the form of progesterone tablets. Understanding about the same will help you make a better informed choice.

Are you pregnant or planning to conceive? Do you want to keep a track of your health through these crucial months? Are you aware of the hormonal fluctuations your body goes through and how it can affect your pregnancy?

If you have heard about progesterone, you may be aware that it has quite an important role to play during your pregnancy. Read our post here and learn more about this essential hormone progesterone in early pregnancy and understand how you can keep track of its levels and uses during pregnancy.

What Is Progesterone?

Progesterone is one of the most important hormones that play a major role in your body while you are pregnant. It is called the pregnancy hormone for this very reason. Progesterone is a female hormone. When you ovulate, your ovaries release a mature egg. At the same time, your ovaries also produce progesterone (1).

What Is The Use Of Progesterone Level During Pregnancy?

The hormone progesterone helps to prepare the lining of your uterus, also known as the endometrium. It prepares your uterus to receive the egg when it fertilizes after coming in contact with the sperm. If the egg does fertilize, you experience a drop in the progesterone levels and your monthly periods begin (2).

[ Read: Effects Of Increased Progesterone Levels During Pregnancy ]

What Should Be The Levels Of Progesterone During Pregnancy?

What are normal progesterone levels during pregnancy? When you are pregnant, the level of progesterone in your body will be ten times that of a woman who is not pregnant. Here are a few quick facts you should keep in mind before you start calculating or checking your progesterone levels:

  • Your progesterone levels usually change from one day to the other and as fast as one hour to the next.
  • Sometimes, the same progesterone test done at one laboratory may give different results than the one you did around the same time at another laboratory.
  • Once you have your food, your progesterone levels can drop down as low as 50 percent to what it was before you had your meal. Hence, you should always have your blood tests done in the morning before eating anything.
  • When you are pregnant, your progesterone levels should at least be within a range of 10 to 12 ng per ml. It will ensure your pregnancy progresses well. An ideal level of the hormone progesterone, while you are pregnant, should be between 16 to 18 ng per ml.
  • If you have an ectopic pregnancy, you will have a much lower level of progesterone as compared to a woman who has an intrauterine pregnancy (3).

As yet, there is no specific level of the hormone progesterone that is normal while you are ovulating or are pregnant. The level of progesterone you should have while you are pregnant depends on the gestational age of your pregnancy. Gestational age occurs from the first day you had your last monthly period.

However, you can track the steps below to have a general idea of what your progesterone levels should be like while you are pregnant (4):

1. Gestational Week 1 To 2:

  • During the first and second week of your gestation, you are not yet technically pregnant.
  • It is the time when your body is preparing itself for the big day.
  • At this stage, your ovaries will produce a very small amount of the hormone progesterone. The levels can be as small as 0.1 ng per ml to 1.5 ng per ml.
  • The end of your second gestational week is when you will most likely release an egg that will fertilize.

2. Gestational Week 3 To 4:

  • Once you experience ovulation, a part of your ovaries will start the production of progesterone.
  • The levels of progesterone in your body will start increasing to a level above 2 ng per ml.
  • During the first part of gestational week three, your progesterone levels will start increasing by about one to three ng per ml for every one to two days. The progress will continue until your progesterone reaches a level of 10 to 29 ng per ml.

3. Gestational Week 5 To 6:

  • By the time you reach gestational week six, your progesterone levels will reach somewhere between 10 to 29 ng per ml.
  • By now, your doctor will check if your progesterone levels can reach up to 6 to 10 ng per ml, which is an indication that your pregnancy is going well.
  • At this stage, the progesterone level in pregnancy will help to stimulate the growth of blood vessels in your uterus. It will help to keep your placenta healthy and to function well so that it can provide nourishment to your unborn baby.
  • It is also the time when your body will experience what is commonly known as the pregnancy glow. It happens when the blood vessels will start to grow on all parts of your body. Sometimes, however, you may experience some redness, itching or rashes as a result of the same.

4. Gestational Week 7 To 14:

  • Between gestation weeks 7 and 14, your placenta will start producing more progesterone.
  • The level of your progesterone may stay stable, or sometimes even start reducing.
  • Once you hit the tenth week of gestation, the levels of your progesterone will start increasing again. The levels can sometimes go as high as what it was during your first trimester, between 15 and 60 ng per ml.
  • After the stage, the levels of progesterone in your body will keep increasing.
  • In case you are carrying multiple babies, like twins or triplets, your progesterone levels will be higher.
  • As your progesterone levels increase, it will help to relax and smooth the muscles in your uterus. It will help to make more room for your baby as the weeks pass and will also help to prevent any uterine contractions.
  • As a side effect, you could also experience heartburn, constipation, hemorrhoids or indigestion.

[ Read: Symptoms Of Heartburn During Pregnancy ]

Side Effects Of Low Levels Of Progesterone During Pregnancy

If your progesterone levels are lower than recommended, it may indicate any of the following:

  • The pregnancy may not result in birth.

Hope now you are clear about the importance of progesterone level during pregnancy. It is important to check with your doctor about your progesterone levels and know what you can do maintain healthy levels.

If you have discussed the same with your doctor, do share your experience here with other moms.

What Is Progesterone Level In Early Pregnancy?

Progesterone hormone is produced naturally by the body. The American Pregnancy Association states that it is released in the early stage of pregnancy, from the 12th to the 16th cycle.

  • It is released by egg follicle parts called the corpus luteum.
  • Progesterone is produced around the 10th week by the placenta.
  • It thickens the uterus lining and prepares for implantation by the fertilized egg.
  • An increase in progesterone level supports pregnancy and ensures you do not have a miscarriage.

There are certain possible side effects that you can experience, such as mood swings, constipation, headaches and fatigue with an increase in progesterone levels during pregnancy.

3 Side Effects Of Increased Progesterone Levels During Pregnancy

Here is a closer look at the probable side effects that you may experience with regular intake of progesterone supplements:

1. Stuffy Nose And Mood Swings:

Experts state that an increase in progesterone levels can be linked to mood swings and depressions.

  • The unstable hormone levels may result in stuffy nostrils as well.
  • As progesterone relaxes the smooth muscles, the muscles in nostrils are also affected that lead to nose congestion.

[ Read: Mood Swings During Pregnancy ]

2. Headaches And Constipation:

An increase in progesterone levels also leads to constipation and headaches in pregnancy.

  • As the supplements relax the smooth muscles of the intestines, it slows down the passage, through which food passes into the intestine.
  • Increased progesterone levels also relax blood vessels that lead to increase in blood flow in the brain resulting in migraines or severe headaches.

[ Read: Constipation During Pregnancy ]

3. Tender Breasts And A Fatigued Body:

Increased levels of progesterone result in fatigue and too much of sleepiness.

  • The central nervous system gets affected, causing extreme tiredness.
  • Studies conducted by Ohio State University states that progesterone supplements lead to changes in the breasts such as tenderness and sensitivity.

[ Read: Sore Breast During Pregnancy ]

While you may experience one or all of the symptoms, discuss with your healthcare provider if the discomforts are unbearable.

How Progesterone Tablets Can Help?

Progesterone hormone is produced by the body naturally during pregnancy to protect from the risks of miscarriages or premature delivery. Preterm birth or premature delivery is one that happens before the 37th week of pregnancy. Progesterone can help prevent premature birth in women to a great extent.

So, talk to your health care provider about the different ways progesterone tablets can reduce pregnancy risks. You would need the tablets in following cases:

  • If your hormone levels are low and you are threatened with cramping and bleeding.
  • Raising the progesterone levels and HCG levels will make your pregnancy stronger and reduce chances of miscarriages.
  • Progesterone tablets are suggested to those with a previous history of miscarriage or premature birth.

[ Read: Antacid Tablets During Pregnancy ]

Progesterone Tablet Doses In Pregnancy

Use of progesterone tablets during pregnancy is not approved. Thus, there is no official guideline for appropriate tablet dose in pregnancy. You need to get in touch with your healthcare provider to know about your required dosage during pregnancy.

Even if you get the progesterone tablets, you need to work to reduce the chances of preterm birth. You must talk to your healthcare provider to know about the benefits and possible side effects of progesterone pills in pregnancy. Research findings state that mothers who took the supplements showed reduced chances of birth defects and other developmental disorders in children in the first 4 years of their age. More and more studies are coming up on effects of progesterone supplements for babies and the mothers.

While there are many women who may have taken the same, it is never a recommended choice. Pregnancy is a delicate time, and you need to be absolutely sure of what you are eating, or what medications you are taking. The rule to remember is that unless your doctor has approved of the same, you should never do it.

Have a discussion with your doctor, and in case you too went through the same experiences in your pregnancy, do share your views here.

Reference : 1 , 2

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