Progesterone is a female sex hormone that’s released by the corpus luteum in the ovary. When it comes to pregnancy, progesterone plays a key role. In fact, it’s often referred to as the ‘pregnancy hormone’. So, since progesterone has such an essential part in the pregnancy process - is it possible to get pregnant with low progesterone levels?
Let’s delve into the topic a little further, learn more about why it can be difficult to become pregnant with low progesterone levels, and the role progesterone plays in pregnancy.
Can I get pregnant with low progesterone levels?
When an egg is released by the ovary each month, progesterone is the hormone that helps in thickening the lining of the uterus, in preparation for a fertilized egg. If the egg isn’t fertilized, progesterone levels will naturally fall and the menstrual cycle will begin. If the egg is fertilized, progesterone works in helping to maintain this lining throughout pregnancy.
As progesterone is responsible for preparing the body for pregnancy, healthy progesterone levels are essential to becoming pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy .
It's important to note that progesterone levels fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle and levels can vary on any given day. However, if you suspect low progesterone levels are affecting your ability to conceive, it's important to speak with a healthcare provider you trust. If you prefer, you can choose to check in on your levels from home with LetsGetChecked's at-home Progesterone Test.
How do low progesterone levels affect pregnancy?
Balanced hormone levels are important for a healthy and happy pregnancy and there are a handful of ways that low progesterone affects pregnancy. Because progesterone is responsible for maintaining the uterus until you give birth, when progesterone levels drop it can cause some serious complications.
Some common low progesterone symptoms include:
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Irregular or missed periods
- Spotting and abdominal pain during pregnancy
- Preterm birth
What role does progesterone play in pregnancy?
With regards to pregnancy, progesterone is kind of a big deal; it helps implant the fertilized egg in the uterus for pregnancy and helps maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Why do women need progesterone during pregnancy?
Progesterone is necessary for a woman’s overall health and wellbeing. During pregnancy progesterone becomes particularly important for the following reasons:
- It helps prepare the body for a possible pregnancy by maintaining the uterine lining for the 14 days post ovulation, to help support the implantation of the embryo
- It stimulates glands in the endometrium to secrete nutrients to nourish the early embryo
- It helps maintain the endometrium throughout pregnancy
See also: What Causes Low Progesterone in Women?
How can I increase my progesterone levels to get pregnant?
While there are a number of avenues that can be taken to increase levels of progesterone to get pregnant such as progesterone supplementation, specific natural progesterone creams, or forms of hormone replacement therapy, a nutrient-rich diet can also help your body produce sufficient amounts of progesterone.
Some of these foods include:
- Dark chocolate
- Whole grains
- Low-fat yogurt
What is a good progesterone level to conceive?
It’s recommended to check progesterone levels on day 21 of your menstrual cycle (the middle of the luteal phase) - around a week before your next period is due. Progesterone levels usually increase around this time if an egg has been released by the ovary, if progesterone levels are low during this time, it may indicate that no egg was produced.
According to Mayo Clinic, on days 21-23, progesterone concentrations of more than 10 ng/mL are considered ‘normal’ progesterone levels and suggest normal ovulation, while a concentration below this may suggest that the ovary hasn’t released an egg - also referred to as anovulation.
Can you ovulate with low progesterone?
In simple terms, if progesterone levels are lower than 10 ng/mL it can suggest that ovulation hasn't occurred. This is why if you're concerned about your cycle, it's important to check in on your levels of progesterone.
See also: What Causes Infertility in Women?
If you’re interested in learning more about your own progesterone levels or are experiencing symptoms of low progesterone - a Progesterone Test is a great option; this can be done in the doctor’s office or from the comfort of your own home.
LetsGetChecked’s Progesterone Test is a blood test that gives valuable insight into your ovulation cycle by indicating if ovulation has occurred on Day 21 of your cycle. By examining progesterone in the blood, the test can decipher whether you’re ovulating normally. Our dedicated clinical team is available to offer medical advice throughout the process.