Progesterone is one of the female sex hormones that is released by the ovaries. The part of the ovary that crates progesterone is called the corpus luteum. It plays a part in many of our bodies functions and affects different cycles of our lives. Let’s look at how progesterone plays a role in your menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
Progesterone and Your Menstrual Cycle
Throughout your menstrual cycle, your progesterone levels fluctuate. After ovulation, which occurs around day 14 of your cycle, your progesterone levels hit an all-time high. This is because your uterine lining has been thickening in preparation to hold a fertilized egg. If you do not get pregnant, your progesterone levels will fall right before getting your period, and the uterine lining will shed.
Additionally, progesterone plays a role in the discharge you get throughout your cycle. After ovulation, you might notice a thick, white discharge. This is just your body telling you your progesterone levels are high.
Progesterone and Pregnancy
As you read when talking about the menstrual cycle, progesterone levels are at an all time high when you are ovulating. If the egg is fertilized, your progesterone levels will stay high and continue to throughout the pregnancy. That is because progesterone plays a huge role in protecting the fertilized egg and protecting the embryo in the early stages of pregnancy.
Since the uterine lining has not shed, progesterone will assist in implementation of the fertilized egg on the uterine wall. Progesterone from the ovaries also helps create the placenta during the first weeks of pregnancy. Once the placenta is made, it starts producing progesterone. This essential hormone continues to support embryo development and strengthen your pelvic area throughout pregnancy. These progesterone levels stay high and are on the rise until just before delivery.
If you don’t have enough progesterone, you might see some complications throughout your menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Low progesterone is often associated with heavy or irregular periods. Low levels can also cause some fertility issues, for sometimes ovaries won’t release an egg and ovulation doesn’t occur. Additionally, low progesterone throughout pregnancy can lead to miscarriage and premature birth.
If you think you might have low progesterone, take a visit to your doctor. The first thing you can do is get a simple blood test to understand your progesterone levels. If your doctor finds them to be too low, they will have suggestions for you moving forward.