5 Reasons Progesterone is Queen
As the name suggests, progest-erone – as in “pro-gestation” – is critical to conception and pregnancy. But we don’t hear much about this super hormone that not only indicates ovulation is occurring properly, but also prepares the uterus to receive a fertilized embryo for implantation. Plus, progesterone provides an important balance to estrogen which is present in the first half of the cycle. Having balanced hormones can not only help when it comes to getting pregnant, but it’s also critical to general female wellness. So why is progesterone so important? Let’s find out.
Progesterone confirms ovulation. At the beginning of each menstrual cycle, progesterone levels are relatively low. First, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, or FSH, stimulates an ovarian follicle to develop, which causes an egg to mature and increases estrogen production. Then, as estrogen levels rise, FSH production declines and Luteinizing Hormone, or LH, production increases. A spike in LH levels indicates that ovulation, or an egg being released from the ovary, is about to occur. Many ovulation predictor kits measure LH, as the presence of this hormone is “predictive” of ovulation. After ovulation comes the luteal phase, where the corpus luteum produces progesterone. The corpus luteum is the empty follicle from which the egg was released. The presence of progesterone indicates that ovulation has, in fact, occurred, because if no egg is released, there is no empty follicle, or corpus luteum, to produce it!
Progesterone stabilizes the uterine lining. Each month, estrogen is released before ovulation and stimulates the uterine lining to build up. After ovulation, progesterone acts to stabilize the uterine lining so it is at the optimal thickness to support implantation. Progesterone’s role is to prepare the uterine lining for a pregnancy, allowing it to become receptive to the fertilized egg so that it can attach, implant, and thrive for the duration of the pregnancy.
Progesterone enables a fertilized embryo to implant. Since progesterone is involved in stabilizing the uterine lining, high levels of progesterone are needed for the embryo to attach in the womb and to maintain the pregnancy. Implantation typically occurs 7-10 days after ovulation. Up until about the 8th week of pregnancy, the corpus luteum produces progesterone to support the pregnancy. After about the 8th week of pregnancy, progesterone production is taken over by the placenta and continues to nourish the fetus for the duration of the pregnancy.
Progesterone is needed to maintain pregnancy. Whether generated from the corpus luteum or the placenta, progesterone levels remain elevated during pregnancy to support a healthy uterine environment for the growing fetus. It has some side benefits too. That “pregnancy glow”? That’s mighty progesterone at work making the skin appear firmer and brighter!
Tracking progesterone shows the full picture. While traditional ovulation predictor kits are great for determining the best time for intercourse when trying to conceive, they fail to show the full picture. The menstrual cycle has 2 distinct phases. The first is the follicular phase, which is comprised of menstruation and the fertile window. This is the time leading up to ovulation. The second is the luteal phase, which is the time after ovulation and is critical for enabling conception and implantation. Progesterone is the dominant hormone present during the luteal phase. By using ovulation predictor kits to track hormones during the follicular phase and tracking progesterone during the luteal phase, women can understand both halves of their cycle and therefore, the full menstrual picture!
Up until now, testing required drawing a blood sample, sending it to a lab and waiting at least 24 hours – although oftentimes more – for results. But with Proov, progesterone tracking can now happen quickly, easily and at home. Proov is the first at-home progesterone test kit. It works by measuring a urine metabolite of progesterone called Pregnanediol Glucuronide – or PdG, for short – in first morning pee. With Proov, it’s as simple as pee, dip, wait 5 minutes and read results. A positive indicates that progesterone levels are elevated, which is critical to supporting conception. A negative can mean that progesterone might be a barrier to successfully conceiving.
What if Proov indicates progesterone is low? Well, the fix could be as simple as a lifestyle or diet change, a supplement or other medication. And if Proov indicates your progesterone is fine, you can check that box and move one step closer to figuring out what may be preventing you from successfully conceiving.
Curious to learn more? Checkout our co-founders Amy (as herself) and Ellen (as Queen Progesterone) in the video below:
Since Proov is non-invasive, women can test at home multiple days in a row to ensure that progesterone is elevated high enough for long enough. Each single Proov kit comes with 7 test strips, designed to last one complete cycle and allowing a woman to test her levels 7 times!
Ready to Proov? Try it today!