The Role of Progesterone during Pregnancy

Progesterone is a hormone which has an important role in the woman’s menstrual cycle and pregnancy. During the first part of a woman’s menstrual cycle it stimulates the growth of rich blood vessels and makes the lining of the uterus prepared for implantation. At this stage progesterone levels are relatively low.

After ovulation , corpus luteum (the “yellow body “) releases the mature egg into the fallopian tube and starts to produce higher levels of progesterone.

If pregnancy doesn’t occur, the “yellow body” is destroyed in about 12-14 days beyond ovulation. It results in a sudden drop of progesteron levels, which finally cause a menstruation period.

If pregnancy occurs and the egg embeds itself into the uterine wall, the “yellow body” increases the amounts of progesterone secreted, while the developing placenta begins to secrete hCG hormone. Actually, secretion of hCG by placenta is a sign to the “yellow body” to continue producing progesterone . At these stage the role of progesterone involves keeping the lining of the uterus thick, prevention of spontaneous contractions and creation of friendly environment for the baby.

At about 10th week of pregnancy the amounts of hCG produced by placenta decrease. This means that placenta is ready to secrete sufficient amounts of progesterone by itself. From that time the placenta is responsible for the production of progesterone and the levels continue getting higher right up to the last day of pregnancy.


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