Low Progesterone Pregnancy

The ovaries in women produce a hormone called progesterone that prepares the uterus for pregnancy, which is essential for maintaining healthy pregnancy once it has occurred. By the end of the first trimester, your placenta will also start producing progesterone until the delivery. Higher levels of progesterone are important during pregnancy; in fact, a healthy pregnant woman will produce 10 times progesterone as compared to a woman who is not pregnant. Insufficient levels of progesterone will make it difficult for a woman to conceive and increase the risk for miscarriage.

How Does Progesterone Affect Pregnancy?

Both before and during the pregnancy, progesterone plays an important role. Low progesterone pregnancy may lead to several complications both before and during the pregnancy.

Before Pregnancy: Low progesterone levels can make it hard for you to get pregnant. Because progesterone is essential to prepare your uterus for pregnancy. The ovaries produce progesterone needed by the uterus soon after ovulation. Progesterone causes the endometrium or uterine lining to thicken, which is important to provide a fertilized egg with supportive environment for proper growth.

During Pregnancy: Too low progesterone levels may lead to miscarriage in pregnancy. Progesterone is important even after a successful implantation. It maintains supporting environment within the uterus and helps nurture the fetus. After 8-10 weeks into pregnancy, the placenta will take charge and produce enough progesterone to maintain healthy pregnancy.

What Can Cause Low Progesterone in Pregnancy?

The levels of progesterone will change in different trimesters. Here is a chart that shows a general range of the progesterone levels in 3 pregnancy trimesters.

Pregnancy Trimesters

Progesterone Levels

First Trimester

9 ng/ml to 47 ng/ml

Second Trimester

17ng/ml to 147ng/ml

Third Trimester

55ng/ml to 200ng/ml

Your doctor will keep an eye on your progesterone levels to determine the risk for ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.

1. Miscarriage Risks

Progesterone levels lower than 6-10ng/ml by the end of 6th weeks of pregnancy usually indicates an unviable pregnancy. If you experience some symptoms of low progesterone levels, you may need to get a blood test for confirmation with receiving your results in a day or so. Besides, you may need progesterone treatments if you have had 3 or more miscarriages in the past.

2. Ectopic Pregnancy

Low progesterone levels in early pregnancy usually can be due to an ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when implantation takes place outside of the uterus, usually within the fallopian tube. Since the fallopian tube is not equipped to support a growing fetus, the pregnancy will end in a miscarriage. In case of ectopic pregnancy, you will experience some additional symptoms as well, such as abdominal pain, pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding, dizziness from blood loss, and lower back pain.

3. Other Causes of Low Progesterone

You may experience low progesterone pregnancydue to some causes other than ectopic pregnancies. For instance, this may happen due to high levels of estrogen, lack of activity, insulin resistance, malnutrition and stress.

How to Treat Low Progesterone in Pregnancy

Once you know you are dealing with low progesterone pregnancy,it is important to take steps to improve your situation and save pregnancy. Here are certain treatment options:

1. Take Supplements

You can take progesterone supplements to improve your condition. These supplements are available in forms of vaginal suppositories, injections, micronized oral pills and creams. Yet, just try to avoid OTC forms and stick to prescription progesterone to make a difference. As the most effective option, vaginal progesterone can be absorbed best, followed by injection and oral pills. You may have to take supplements up to 10 weeks when the placenta takes control and starts to produce enough progesterone.

2. Improve Adrenal Health

Sleeping earlier to improve your natural circadian rhythms will improve your adrenal health. This in turn produces a steroid called DHEA that boosts progesterone levels. Using an herb called nettle may also help improve your adrenal health.

3. Take Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin B6 plays a role in the formation of a good corpus luteumwhich produces progesterone. Magnesium helps break down excess estrogens;therefore, it is important to eat food rich in magnesium to maintain a balance of progesterone and estrogen. Vitamin C also helps improve progesterone levels.

4. Eat Organic Foods

You should make a conscious effort to eat organically. Pay special attention to the animal products you eat, and make sure that they are organic. Eating organically is important to minimize exposure to estrogen, which prevents symptoms associated with a progesterone deficiency.

5. Use Herbs

The use of thyme, turmeric and oregano may help improve progesterone levels and prevent low progesterone pregnancy. Chasteberry is also effective, but it may reduce libido in some women. Be sure to spend some time learning the do's and don'ts of taking chasteberry.

6. Take Enough Dietary Cholesterol

Progesterone is a steroid hormone and it is synthesized from pregnenolone. It is important to understand that pregnenolone is derived from cholesterol. Be sure to include enough cholesterol in your diet.

Experience on Low Progesterone Pregnancy from Others

Some woman is expecting things to get better:

"I went for my first doctor visit when I was 6 weeks pregnant. This was my first pregnancy and I was not sure of how it all would turn out. They took a urine sample and informed me that my pee test line was as dark as it should be. They asked for a blood test and found my HCG is about 1200. I went for another test a couple of days later and there was slight increase in HCG levels with progesterone around 5.4. I went for an ultrasound screening and found that there was a heartbeat of 113. I am already on progesterone 2xs a day and hope that everything will turn out well."

Some woman experience something sad:

"I have had a miscarriage in the past. I am pregnant again. My last miscarriage was due to low progesterone levels, and my current progesterone reading was 9, which should be between 20 and 30. I am now 6 weeks and took a progesterone injection, which has increased my levels to 15. I hope it doesn't end like it did last time." 

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