So many times in clinic I get asked about progesterone. What can I do to raise my progesterone levels and I would love to have a simple answer for you, but it’s quite complex. Many factors affect your progesterone levels. This is the first part of a little miniseries of newsletters where I will be concentrating on how to increase your progesterone levels. In this first part, I will explain what progesterone is and why it is so important.
Progesterone is required to become pregnant and stay pregnant. The hormone is produced in the ovaries, the placenta (when a woman is pregnant) and the adrenal glands.
How does progesterone work? During the menstrual cycle, when an egg is released from your ovary at ovulation, usually on day 14 (if you have a 28 day cycle), a structure called corpus luteum forms. The corpus luteum releases progesterone, which prepares the body for pregnancy if the egg was fertilised. If the egg wasn’t fertilised, then the corpus luteum breaks down, progesterone levels drop, then you start your period.
If the egg was fertilised, then the corpus luteum keeps releasing progesterone, which prepares the body for pregnancy. Progesterone makes the uterus nice and fluffy for easy implantation. It nourishes the uterus during pregnancy. Your progesterone levels need to keep rising during the second half of your cycle to maintain a pregnancy. If your progesterone levels are not high enough, a miscarriage may occur.
If you haven’t ovulated that means your progesterone levels don’t rise enough. Blood test on day 21 of your cycle or 7 days after ovulation depending on your cycle, can confirm if you have ovulated or not. Progesterone levels need to be at a certain level to confirm ovulation.
This is one of the primary reasons some women are having a hard time with infertility and miscarriages. They don’t have enough progesterone available to conceive or maintain a pregnancy.
Stay tuned to find out what one of the main causes of low progesterone level is.