Hormones play a very important role in the woman’s body, but even more so during pregnancy. Several hormones are affected at their levels so that they can do their function and get the pregnancy to take its course. Let us consider in this particular case the effects of progesterone in pregnancy and what are its effects and functions.
What is progesterone?
Progesterone is a female sex hormone, which is sometimes also called the pregnancy hormone. It is the most important hormone that participates in the menstrual cycle and fertility. It begins to occur in our body upon reaching puberty, with our first menstrual cycle.
Every month progesterone is released through the ovaries after ovulation, and its levels remain high until the next menstruation appears. Its main function is to prepare the endometrium (the inner layer of the uterus) for possible implantation of the fertilized egg if there is fertilization, to make the pregnancy go ahead. Prepare the endometrium so that it has the necessary reserves of nutrients so that the embryo has what it needs to develop. If progesterone levels are not enough, the endometrium will not be prepared and pregnancy will not occur.
What are the effects of progesterone in pregnancy?
Once the embryo is implanted in the endometrium, progesterone also has an important function during pregnancy. At first this hormone is released by the ovaries until 8 weeks of gestation, and then it is produced by the placenta during the rest of pregnancy.
Progesterone levels fluctuate as pregnancy develops. In the days near childbirth, this hormone descends. Let’s see what other important functions progesterone has during pregnancy, in addition to preparing the uterus to anit the embryo:
- Muscle relaxation. Progesterone relaxes the uterus to prevent uterine contractions and premature birth. That is why women at risk of preterm birth or with short cervix are given progesterone preventive.
- Maternal welfare. Their levels are associated with moments of greater maternal well-being. When progesterone levels drop a lot they are a factor of emotional downturn or even postpartum depression.
- Prepare the body for lactation. In the last part of pregnancy, progesterone prepares breast tissue for breastfeeding.
- Promotes elasticity Pregnancy involves a considerable increase in volume, and progesterone helps to increase the elasticity of body tissues to adapt to weight gain.
- Protect the baby. It has a protective effect, forming around it the mucous plug. Creates a barrier between the inside of the uterus and the vagina.
As we have seen before, there are cases such as the risk of preterm birth where artificial progesterone can be administered. But I also do more cases where it can be used and with very favorable results.
In vitro fertilization techniques it is also used artificially to increase the chances of embryo implantation, since the medication provided may reduce its levels . It is usually used on the same day of the technique until the 10-12 week of pregnancy, and then the placenta would be responsible for producing it naturally.
Another case where artificial progesterone can also be given is to regulate menstruation. If you have a lack or excess bleeding your doctor may give you progesterone to normalize your bleeding. This is very important especially if you are looking for a pregnancy, and it improves the physical and psychological changes that occur during these menstruation.
Administration of artificial progesterone can be done through injections, by vaginal gels, vaginal suppositories or by pills. It may also have some side effects such as fluid retention, drowsiness, headaches, nausea, dizziness, increased breast tenderness, upset stomach, irritability, or problems urinating. If this is your case, consult your doctor.
Because remember… progesterone is one of the most important hormones during pregnancy.