Progesterone is called the main hormone of pregnancy, because it provides all the conditions for healthy development of the fetus. What’s more, it prepares a future mother’s organism for the forthcoming birth. It is produced by the adrenal and ovaries, and later by the placenta. Disorders of hormonal balance can adversely affect the current pregnancy and even lead to its interruption or cause development of severe malformations in the child. To prevent this, every woman should be aware of normal progesterone levels during pregnancy.
Functions of Progesterone in the Female Body
Progesterone stimulates the growth of the endometrium (the inner shell of the uterus). It has a pronounced effect on the secretory transformations of the uterine mucosa, improving the conditions of implantation of a fertilized egg;
- Regulates the growth of the uterus and prepares it for fetal growth;
- Has a relaxing effect on the muscles of the uterus, preventing the threat of abortion;
- Affects the processes of deposition of subcutaneous fat to ensure the energy costs of a woman and the fetus;
- Affects growth and secretory transformation of mammary glands;
- Reduces the harmful effects of the mother’s immune system on the fetus;
- Prepares the pelvic ligaments for relaxation during the upcoming birth;
- Affects the development of steroid hormones in the fetus.
For the fetus, progesterone is also an important element:
- It promotes the development of the main organs and tissues of the child.
- Thanks to progesterone, the female body does not perceive the embryo as an alien body and does not reject it. Otherwise, the protective system would push the egg out like a foreign body – a foreign protein.
- Takes part in the development of steroid hormones in the baby.
What’s more, progesterone performs a number of functions not related to reproduction:
- normalization of blood viscosity and concentration of sugar level;
- preventing the appearance of fibrous cysts in the glandular tissue;
- ensuring the transformation of fatty tissues into energy.
It has also been proven that the deficiency of progesterone levels in the body contributes to the emergence of premenstrual and climacteric syndromes.
Symptoms of Extra Amount or Lack of Progesterone
We can distinguish the following symptoms, indicating an excessive level of progesterone in the body:
- fast fatigue;
- problems with vision;
- allergies (rashes and itching);
- lowering blood pressure;
- violation of the menstrual cycle;
- the appearance of acne, often large and painful;
- increased hair growth on the body;
- emotional instability.
Low Progesterone Levels during Pregnancy
The main symptom of the lack of progesterone in the body is the delay in ovulation, but there are other signs of this condition:
- painful menstruation;
- increase or, conversely, decrease of the body temperature level;
- increased gassing;
- dryness in the vagina;
- mood swings for no reason;
- excessive growth of hair on the body;
- increased activity of the sebaceous glands.
When to Pass the Test?
Pregnancy planning should always be accompanied by a preliminary medical examination, including a visit to the doctor and the analysis of the level of progesterone.
The main reasons for the appointment of such an analysis:
- causeless disorders of the menstrual cycle;
- induced ovulation in women;
- infertility with the preservation of ovulation.
Blood Analysis for Progesterone
Progesterone in pregnancy is determined by laboratory blood analysis using the immunofluorescence method. Indications for the appointment of such an analysis may be pain in the lower abdomen of the pregnant woman, the appearance of brown secretions from the genital tract. Those women, who do not have any complications during pregnancy can undergo the study only in the second trimester.
It is better to do the test in the morning hours on an empty stomach or at least six hours after eating. Do not take any hormone or other medications 48 hours before the scheduled study. Try to avoid stress and nervous strain. It is allowed to drink still water before the test.
What Is the Norm of Progesterone Levels during Pregnancy?
Progesterone levels during pregnancy allow you to determine the duration of pregnancy. When pregnancy proceeds without various deviations, there is no need to determine the level of progesterone. But if a doctor suspects any hormonal disorders in a woman, the future mother will be assigned the appropriate analysis. And the attending doctor will perform the decipherment of the results.
That is, when the fertilization of the egg has already taken place, the yellow body grows. Therefore, progesterone levels during pregnancy in the organism of the future mother will also increase. This process is observed throughout the whole period of pregnancy.
The content of progesterone in the body of a woman during pregnancy is unstable and varies depending on the timing of gestation.
Progesterone Levels during Pregnancy (Trimesters)
Trimester Norm (ng / ml)
1 From 11,2 to 90,0 ng/ml
2 From 25,6 to 89,4 ng/ml
3 From 48,4 to 422,5 ng/ml
The Norm of Progesterone Levels during Pregnancy Week by Week
Week Progesterone Level (nmol/L)
5 – 6 18,57 (+/- 2,00)
7 – 8 32,98 (+/- 3,56)
9 – 10 37,91 (+/- 4,10)
11 – 12 42,80 (+/- 4,61)
13 – 14 44,77 (+/- 5,15)
15 – 16 46,75 +/- 5,06)
17 – 18 59,28 (+/- 6,42)
19 – 20 71,80 (+/- 7,76)
21 – 22 75,35 (+/- 8,36)
23 – 24 79,15 (+/- 8,55)
25 – 26 83,89 (+/- 9,63)
27 – 28 91,52 (+/- 9,89)
29 – 30 101,38 (+/- 10,97)
31 – 32 127,10 (+/- 7,82)
33 – 34 112,45 (+/- 6,68)
35 – 36 112,48 (+/- 12,27)
37 – 38 219,58 (+/- 23,75)
39 – 40 273,32 (+/- 27,77)
Undoubtedly, closer to the end of the trimester, the normal progesterone levels during pregnancy should be higher. That means that they will approach the upper limit allowed for the current trimester.
In addition, we must not forget that these norms are average. That means that it is necessary to take into account the peculiarities of the pregnancy and the individual characteristics of the organism of every woman.
The Threat of Low or High Progesterone Levels during Pregnancy
The consequences of deficiency or excess of the hormone rate creates a risk of dangerous conditions for the mother and the child. Progesterone insufficiency can cause:
- Early miscarriage.
- Delay in the development of fetal organs and systems.
- Missed miscarriage, when the embryo ceases to develop.
- Ectopic pregnancy, when the egg is attached to the tube or the cervix, and not to its cavity. Such pregnancy leads to the rupture of the tube, the embryo does not survive. Also, there is a risk to the life of the woman.
- Disruption of the functioning of the placenta as an organ supplying the fetus with oxygen and nutrients.
- The appearance of toxicosis with dehydration in the early stages.
- Development of acute gestosis at late stages in the form of edema.
- Infertility in the future.
Consequences of Excessive Amount of the Hormone:
- A certain malfunction in the functioning of the placenta
- Dysfunction of the kidneys
- Increased likelihood of giving birth to twins
- The need for systematic reception of hormonal drugs
The necessary treatment for an increased or decreased content of progesterone in the body can be prescribed only by a doctor based on the history of the disease and the performed studies. Self-medication is impossible in any case. Uncontrolled intake of hormonal drugs only aggravate the situation.
To date, the main method of treating both increased and decreased progesterone in the body is therapy with hormonal drugs. The hormone can be administered either in the form of pills or through injections.
Another effective method of correcting the level of progesterone is a special diet. To reduce the hormone content, it is necessary to abandon dairy products, nuts and reduce the consumption of protein foods.
To increase the level of progesterone, include in the diet the following food: beans, avocados, poultry meat, nuts, eggs, sunflower seeds, cheeses and fish of fatty varieties, fish oil in capsules and in liquid form. Taking vitamins can also help to increase the hormone levels.
How to Maintain the Norm of Progesterone Levels during Pregnancy?
Recovery of the normal level of progesterone for a pregnant woman should take place strictly under the supervision of a doctor.
However, there are general recommendations for maintaining the norm of progesterone in the body for all women, including pregnant women:
- Maintaining an adequate regime of the day with a night sleep of at least 8 hours;
- Revision of the diet with the mandatory exception of preservatives and harmful products, as well as enrichment of vitamins E and C;
- Use only clean water;
- Be cautious while using hair dye;
- Lead a healthy and active lifestyle.
It is important to remember that any violation in the hormonal background can adversely affect not only your reproductive function, but also the quality of life in general. Therefore, if you feel the first appearance of symptoms of abnormalities, immediately consult a doctor.