Women experiencing infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss may be asked to supplement with progesterone. Here is everything you need to know about this hormone.
Progesterone is a critical hormone for pregnancy. It helps to prepare the uterine lining for an embryo to implant. When an egg is released from the ovary during ovulation, it forms a structure around the egg known as the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum begins to release progesterone. Progesterone is responsible for making the uterine lining thick and sticky. If an egg gets fertilized and forms an embryo, it will be able to nestle into the lining and continue to grow.
However, if insufficient progesterone is available, the lining will never get thick, and even if an egg does get fertilized, the embryo will not be able to find an excellent spot to grow. This is where progesterone supplementation comes in.
Why do women take progesterone supplements?
Progesterone supplements are typically suggested to patients struggling to get pregnant, having recurrent pregnancy loss, ovulatory disorders, and in conjunction with assisted reproductive treatment (i.e., in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer, frozen embryo transfer, etc.). Sometimes women experience a deficiency in progesterone in the second half of the menstrual cycle, known as the luteal phase defect.
Many doctors supplement women attempting to achieve pregnancy with progesterone to limit the risk of loss due to insufficient progesterone.
What are progesterone supplements?
Progesterone supplementation is a prescription medication taken after ovulation. The uterine lining reacts to the progesterone medication and begins to thicken to prepare it for pregnancy. In IVF cycles, supplementation is even more critical because there may not be enough natural progesterone made by the ovary.
PRogesterone may be prescribed in one of three forms:
- Vaginal gel
- Vaginal tablet
- Intramuscular injection
Will Oova still work if I'm taking progesterone supplements?
Yes. The supplements impact Oova’s results depending on whether you are taking oral progesterone or topical. If the progesterone is in your body, it may very well show up on the Oova test as we are reading the amount of progesterone your body is excreting each day. Everyone metabolizes these hormones very differently, so it may or may not drastically impact your progesterone readings.
It is still helpful to monitor your progesterone while on the supplements to ensure they are working correctly.