Understanding Progesterone and How It Affects Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be one of the most beautiful times in a person’s life. Even with pregnancy’s difficulties, the result - a tiny, new member of your family - is more than worth it.
Progesterone is the powerhouse hormone behind the beginning stages of pregnancy. Having too little progesterone can not only impact the comfort of the pregnancy, but it can determine the viability of it. While hormones might seem like a hard thing to tackle, understanding and tracking hormone levels can be the key to determining the success of your pregnancy.
With Proov home progesterone testing kits, you can relax knowing if your progesterone levels are high or low and better prepare for pregnancy.
Get to know your Progesterone today with Proov!
What is Progesterone?
Hormones regulate the body’s systems and processes, and this includes the processes of becoming pregnant and maintaining a pregnancy. The leading pregnancy hormones are estrogen and progesterone. The levels of these hormones within the body directly impact the outcomes of a pregnancy, and moreover, they influence the overall health and well-being of the pregnant parent.
Progesterone is classified as a progestogen and is a hormone created by a temporary endocrine gland, which is produced during the second half of the ovulation cycle. The role of progesterone is to prepare the body, including the womb, for pregnancy.
How Does Progesterone Impact Me?
Ever wonder what makes the lining of the uterus thicken to accept a fertilized egg during your fertility cycle?
That process is owed largely to progesterone.
But that’s among the first roles progesterone plays in helping you through pregnancy. People with ovaries need to meet certain levels of the hormone progesterone in their body to successfully sustain a pregnancy, which means that without the proper levels, getting pregnant in the first place can be hard. If a person does manage to become pregnant with low levels, they could have a hard time sustaining a pregnancy or carrying it to term. This is because progesterone is what ultimately creates the placenta, which supports the growing baby until birth.
Once the placenta is created, the endocrine gland in the ovaries stops producing progesterone. From then on, progesterone is created in the placenta. Ultimately, progesterone prevents the body from menstruating before the completion of the pregnancy, prevents osteoporosis during pregnancy, helps a pregnant person maintain a healthy weight, and prevents lactation from happening until the body is ready to nurse.
But even before they become pregnant, a person trying to conceive might have other uncomfortable symptoms relating to lower progesterone. Levels of low progesterone directly impact the menstrual cycle and might make periods longer and more painful - such as in the case of those who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
How Does Progesterone Impact My Developing Infant?
Progesterone doesn’t just benefit the person giving birth, however. It is especially crucial to the well-being and development of a baby. As mentioned before, progesterone is critical in the formation of the placenta. A healthy placenta is necessary for growing a baby, and without proper blood flow and nutrients being supplied to the placenta, the baby can face serious conditions during and after pregnancy. Most commonly, this can result in premature birth or a miscarriage.
What Determines My Progesterone Levels?
In people with ovaries, progesterone production is dependent upon a healthy reproductive system - most importantly, healthy ovaries. Ultimately, those with conditions like PCOS, those who have had miscarriages before, or those going through menopause are likely to have lower progesterone levels. Additionally, if you have a family history of miscarriages, PCOS, and early menopause, you might also have a higher chance of suffering from low progesterone levels.
How Can I Track My Progesterone Levels?
Many people do not even realize they have low progesterone levels until they experience issues with conception. Understanding the warning signs of low progesterone is the first step you can take toward maintaining control over your progesterone levels. Symptoms of low progesterone include:
- Heavy or irregular periods
- Headaches or migraines
- Mood changes, including depression and anxiety
- Issues with the gallbladder
- Decreased sex drive or libido
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness or fibrocystic breasts
Luckily, there are ways to track your progesterone levels before getting pregnant, or in the case you might experience any of these symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the above problems, or you are having issues trying to conceive, you should visit a doctor. They will be able to help you determine the cause of your infertility or health issues. From there, if it is determined you have low progesterone, steps will be taken to remedy the problem. For pregnancy, that will likely mean taking supplements or medication to increase the progesterone in your body and prepare it for pregnancy. Whether or not a doctor determines an issue with your progesterone, you can still monitor progesterone levels in your body to ensure you picked the right time to conceive. At-home kits, like Proov, can help monitor your levels.
What is Proov and How Can it Help With Pregnancy?
Proov is an at-home progesterone level test. Very much like an at-home pregnancy test, you use your urine to detect the levels of progesterone within the body. You use first morning urine, as you would with a pregnancy test, as this time of day produces the most accurate hormone readings. After collecting your urine in a sterile cup, you take one of the strips that come in your Proov package, and you place it in the urine for five seconds. Then, you let the strip develop for five minutes and read the results. Positive results indicate high levels of progesterone, whereas negative results indicate lower levels of progesterone.
After the reading, you can take the necessary steps to plan your pregnancy in a way that best supports a healthy outcome. Progesterone monitoring strips, like Proov, are one of the ways in which people seeking to become pregnant can take control of their cycles and the outcome of their fertility. For more about progesterone and its impacts on the body, follow our blog here.