PdG and Pregnancy
Written by: Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test — the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home.
Written on 2/8/21
If you’ve followed Proov for a while, you know we love talking about PdG. After all, we are the first and only FDA cleared PdG test to confirm successful ovulation at home!
But, you may be wondering what exactly PdG is and how it can help you achieve pregnancy. Keep reading to learn more.
What is PdG and why is it important?
PdG (Pregnanediol Glucuronide) is the urine metabolite of progesterone — the hormone released after ovulation. Progesterone is produced by the empty follicle from which the egg was released (corpus luteum) after ovulation has occurred.
Progesterone is the hormone responsible for stabilizing the already thickened uterine lining and making it “sticky” enough for implantation and pregnancy. After progesterone circulates through the bloodstream, it is then metabolized by the kidneys into PdG and expelled from the body.
Elevated and sustained levels of PdG can confirm that “successful ovulation” has occurred — information key to the pregnancy puzzle. Without a successful ovulatory event, it can be more difficult to successfully conceive. While unsuccessful or suboptimal ovulation can make it harder to get pregnant, it can also be a sign of a greater hormone imbalance.
Elevated and sustained levels of PdG can confirm that “successful ovulation” has occurred — information key to the pregnancy puzzle.
So what is “successful” ovulation?
Successful ovulation means an egg is released and the corpus luteum is producing a sufficient amount of progesterone after ovulation. In a successful ovulatory event, an egg is released and post-ovulatory hormone levels (i.e. progesterone and therefore PdG) remain elevated for an adequate amount of time.
Confirming successful ovulation is important when trying to conceive as it helps you understand whether ovulatory issues might be preventing you from getting pregnant.
This is vital information as problems with ovulation are the leading cause of female infertility. It can be very difficult to get and maintain a successful pregnancy if you are not experiencing successful ovulation.
Confirming successful ovulation involves guaranteeing your PdG levels are high enough and remain elevated during your luteal phase. We recommend testing PdG levels on days 7-10 after peak fertility when trying to confirm successful ovulation. Four positive PdG test results on these days confirm that successful ovulation did in fact occur.
How do I measure PdG levels?
PdG is most commonly measured through urine-based hormone test strips, like Proov. Proov is the first and only FDA cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation at home. Proov tests are designed to turn positive when there is 5 ug/ml of PdG present in urine.
Proov is the first and only FDA cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation at home.
How does PdG help you get pregnant?
As we mentioned, without enough progesterone it can be more difficult to get pregnant. In fact, progesterone is often referred to as “the pregnancy hormone” for its roles in maintaining a healthy uterine lining and environment in which an embryo can thrive. Ensuring you have sufficient progesterone levels prior to conception can increase your chances of conceiving and a healthy pregnancy.
However, progesterone blood tests are invasive and can fail to show the full picture. This is because progesterone levels fluctuate day by day, even hour by hour. This means getting a blood test in the morning may give you very different results than if you were to test in the afternoon.
Additionally, we know that progesterone needs to rise and remain elevated throughout the luteal phase to allow for the best chance at conception. Progesterone blood tests only show levels at one point in time, falling short of showing overall luteal phase health.
PdG, on the other hand, combats both of these shortcomings. PdG is measured through urine, meaning it is non-invasive and easily allows for tracking over several days. It also has been shown to accurately represent an average of all progesterone levels from the previous day, when tested using first morning urine.
This means PdG levels can provide critical information surrounding your chances at conception.
PdG is measured through urine, meaning it is non-invasive and easily allows for tracking over several days.
What can I do to increase PdG levels?
If you’ve had four positive Proov tests on days 7, 8, 9, and 10 after peak fertility, then congrats! This means ovulation was successful and you are one step closer to solving your pregnancy puzzle.
If a few of your Proov tests were negative on any of these days, then you may be able to try the following natural methods to raise PdG levels. If you never got a positive Proov test, this could be a sign of anovulation and we recommend consulting your doctor.
Some natural ways to increase PdG include:
Seed cycling involves eating different types of seeds during the two different phases of your cycle to promote a hormone balance. During the follicular phase, you should eat pumpkin and flax seeds to boost estrogen. Then during the luteal phase, you should eat sunflower and sesame seeds to promote progesterone production.
Diet changes are a simple way to increase PdG levels. There are several foods that can promote PdG production including:
- Brussel sprouts
- Whole grains
Need some help incorporating these foods into your diet? Check out these 5 easy recipes that support PdG!
Herbs can also be used to treat low PdG. There are several herbs that can help such as chaste tree berry or vitex angus-castus. Vitex works to stimulate the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the brain, which then stimulates the ovaries to produce PdG.
You can also try maca. This is a “hormonal adaptogen,” which means it will adjust to your body’s needs and help to naturally produce your hormones. Studies have indicated that women who take a maca supplement will experience an increase in PdG over time.
Maintain a healthy body weight
It is important to maintain a healthy body weight as abnormally low or abnormally high fat levels can affect the production of PdG and your overall hormone balance.
Moderate exercise is good for overall health and not damaging to PdG levels. It’s important to note that overexercising can however hurt PdG production. When we reference over exercising, we mean intense, strenuous exercise such as marathon training or crossfit.
While PdG is just a small piece in the pregnancy puzzle, understanding your PdG levels and confirming successful ovulation can help you get pregnant faster!