Progesterone is a female sex hormone produced primarily by the ovaries. It forms a fundamental role in regulating the menstrual cycle and is secreted during this period and by the placenta during pregnancy. It is an essential hormone in pregnancy as it prepares the uterus for the implantation of the fertilized egg and the breasts so that they can give milk. In some cases, it is used as a medicine during pregnancy but only when there are low levels, under medical prescription, or in the issues we will now see. It helps decrease the abortion rate and can prevent premature labor. However, it should not be taken during the entire pregnancy. This FastlyHealarticle explains how long you should take progesterone during pregnancy.
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Progesterone in pregnancy: what is it for?
Progesterone is often used to treat PMS symptoms and balance irregular periods. However, it is also used in pregnancy. Remember that this hormone should always be used under a medical prescription and never on your own. The reasons why a doctor may recommend the use of progesterone are varied. When the levels of this hormone are low, there are one; the others are explained below:
In vitro fertilization
When a woman undergoes an in vitro pregnancy, the uterus must be prepared. Medications are often used to increase fertility, but they can lower progesterone levels. In these cases, progesterone as a supplement is also indicated. Progesterone will be taken before and during pregnancy. Usually, it will be removed at 10 or 12 weeks since it is at this time when the placenta begins to produce it on its own, but it will depend on each case.
Risk of miscarriage
One of the causes for which there may be a risk of miscarriage is low progesterone levels, in which case the doctor will prescribe artificial progesterone in the form of medicine. It is not entirely proven that this prevents abortion since there have been studies that give highly variable results, but low progesterone levels must be balanced in any case. In addition, progesterone contains contractions in early pregnancy, which could cause a miscarriage.
Until when to take progesterone in pregnancy
The ovaries are the ones that produce progesterone, in addition to other organs such as the brain, but when the woman is pregnant, the placenta also produces it so that the pregnancy goes well.
If you have been recommended to take progesterone during pregnancy, it may be because your levels were low, which could have even caused blood loss at the beginning of this. However, taking it throughout pregnancy is also not practical since the placenta produces it independently. Hence, doctors usually recommend stopping taking it at approximately 12 weeks, when the placenta produces it independently, and the levels will balance.
He will likely tell you to stop it suddenly, but some prefer to decrease the dose. You can do it both ways.
Do not be afraid to leave it and return to the previous levels since, as we have said, the placenta will be the one that produces it and increases your progesterone levels.
However, some women have to take it during the third trimester. This is not very common, but it happens when the mother’s cervix is too short, which could lead to contractions.
However, always follow your doctor’s instructions to start it and take it. Keep in mind that he will be responsible for everything going well, and if he thinks it appropriate that you should continue taking it, he will be the one to tell you.
How to take progesterone in pregnancy
There are several forms of presentation of progesterone, which are:
- Injections: it is the most common and established method. They are applied to the buttocks once a day. The only problem is that it requires a professional to use them, so you must go to a health center.
- Gel: it is much more comfortable. The doctor will be the one who will recommend this format.
- Suppositories or vaginal ovules: they are well known and used. It is usually used once a day, although depending on the case, sometimes some more is applied. They are placed inside the vagina, just like the eggs used to treat vaginal yeast infections. They are very comfortable to wear.
- Pill tablets: they are not usually widely used in pregnancy but rather for menstrual disorders since they are absorbed through the stomach, and therefore their action is different.
It would help if you were careful with certain creams on the market that are sold without a prescription claiming to be progesterone creams. They are not reliable, nor do they serve to stop a possible abortion or raise progesterone levels. Progesterone as a medicine is only bought with a prescription.
How Progesterone Works
After ovulation, a cholesterol-rich tissue called the corpus luteum appears in the ovary, which secretes the hormone progesterone. This prepares the endometrium for possible implantation and later feeds the embryo. That is why after ovulation, progesterone levels increase.
In addition, progesterone changes the consistency of the uterine mucus making it more infertile, so once fertilized, it no longer allows the passage of new sperm.
It is also responsible for breast enlargement and, during pregnancy, prevents the production of milk, but when the progesterone has given birth, it causes the milk to reappear.
On the other hand, it has a relaxing effect on the uterine muscle that prevents contractions, which would cause a spontaneous abortion.
And an essential function is that it decreases the response of the immune system that could consider the baby as a foreign body.
It is also responsible for the mood of the pregnant woman and fatigue.
As we see, removing this last effect of fatigue, progesterone is an essential hormone during pregnancy. That is why it is so important that adequate levels are maintained.
Progesterone in pregnancy: side effects
Like all medicines, although our body produces progesterone, it can also have some adverse effects. Women taking progesterone may feel more bloated due to the fluid retention it causes. You can also feel:
If symptoms worsen, you should immediately consult your gynecologist.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.