Progesterone and Its Role in Getting Pregnant
Progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum and is essential for building and maintaining a lining of the uterus into which the fertilized egg can implant and continue to grow. Progesterone levels increase after ovulation and hence make the women more fertile. Although under ideal conditions it sometimes works as a contraceptive, progesterone is also, conversely, used in some fertility therapies.
Progesterone rises in the blood following ovulation, peaks on days 5-9, and then declines and ideally day 26 should be shortly before a menstrual period. A progesterone level is best timed using a basal body temperature record or an ovulation prediction kit. A peak value of progesterone is above 10 ng/ml.
Progesterone and getting pregnant
An adequate amount of progesterone is crucial to a woman who is trying to become pregnant. That is because, it actually prepares the uterine wall for implantation of the fertilized egg. Insufficient levels of progesterone, or if it is produced for too little time, can mean the egg cannot survive inside the hostile uterine lining. This is known as a defective or inadequate luteal phase or luteal phase defect.
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Luteal Phase Defect and progesterone
The luteal phase is the latter half of the menstrual cycle during which the corpus luteum produces progesterone to maintain the endometrial lining of the uterus in the hope of a fertilized egg. When the corpus luteum stops producing progesterone it disintegrates and your period begins. The length of the luteal phase can be observed and ideally it should be longer than about 10 days. A defective luteal phase is when the length of time during which progesterone is produced (i.e. between ovulation and menstruation beginning) is insufficient to allow a fertilized egg to implant as the lining has begun to disintegrate.
Miscarriages and progesterone
If a woman has had four or five miscarriages in the first six or eight weeks of a pregnancy, this is always due to luteal phase failure. Progesterone is needed to facilitate implantation and to prevent rejection of the developing embryo. You should wait till you ovulate, and then four to six days after possible conception do a blood test for hCG to see if you’re pregnant. If you are, start the progesterone; that way you will increase you chance of having a healthy baby.
Ovulatory dysfunction and progesterone
Progesterone treatment can also be used to induce fertility when there appears to be ovulatory dysfunction. A study was performed involving fifty women who had lived with infertility for a minimum of one-and-a-half years. Seventy percent of the women conceived within six months while exclusively using progesterone therapy.
From all the data it seems clear that progesterone offers an options therapy with no risks to the patient and will be likely to benefit those wishing to get pregnant. Additional reports indicate that without progesterone treatment, women with luteal phase defect are at very high risk for spontaneous abortion. Progesterone has been found to be important in maintaining a pregnancy during the early months.