Often, if a woman is able to conceive, but has trouble carrying to term, it’s because of progesterone production. Progesterone is the main female reproductive system hormone and it plays a vital role in fetal development during pregnancy. It prepares the inner lining of the uterus for pregnancy by signaling for its walls to thicken in preparation for accepting a fertilized egg. Progesterone also keeps the uterus’ muscles from contracting so that it doesn’t reject the egg, and the production of this crucial hormone also prevents ovulation.

When a pregnancy does not occur, progesterone levels lower, the glandular structure in the ovary known as the corpus luteum breaks down, and menstruation occurs.

If the egg is fertilized and conception occurs, progesterone production helps provide a nurturing environment to support the growing fetus. However, if there’s not enough of this hormone being produced during the first two to three months of the pregnancy, it can impact the ability of the pregnancy to continue. During that time frame, It’s main production is coming from the ovaries. Miscarriages or interruptions in development sometimes occur between six and eight weeks, often because there isn’t enough progesterone to keep the pregnancy going.

If there is enough progesterone being produced by the ovaries to continue the pregnancy, then at around the 10-week mark, the placenta takes over production of progesterone. At that time, production increases substantially to help strengthen the wall muscles of the pelvis in preparation for the labor to come.

Progesterone also stimulates breast tissue during pregnancy while simultaneously preventing lactation. During and immediately following pregnancy, the hormone prolactin is secreted by the pituitary gland to stimulate breast development and milk production. Breastfeeding following birth then significantly lowers progesterone levels until the mother stops lactating, at which point prolactin levels decline and hormone levels begin to rise again.

Hormone replacement treatment for women having problems conceiving is intended provide progesterone support until the pregnancy is confirmed at 12 weeks. Progesterone has been used extensively and safely in the first trimester, when the fetus is more vulnerable.

If you’re having trouble conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term, take my Signature Hormone Diagnostic Assessment and see if you’re a good candidate for hormone therapy treatment.