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Progesterone is a natural female hormone. Called “the pregnancy hormone,” it is essential before and during pregnancy.
Progesterone supplementation is often necessary during Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) because the medications you may use during these procedures can suppress your body’s ability to produce progesterone. Certain procedures can even, inadvertently, remove progesterone-producing cells from your ovaries.
Sometimes, there are other reasons to use progesterone supplementation, such as little or no progesterone production from the ovaries or poorly developed follicles that do not secrete enough progesterone to develop the uterine lining.
The bottom line is this — all women who wish to become pregnant need progesterone to help the uterus prepare for and maintain a fertilized egg. Follow the links below to learn more about the connection between progesterone and pregnancy.
Progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy.
After ovulation occurs, the ovaries start to produce progesterone needed by the uterus. Progesterone causes the uterine lining or endometrium to thicken. This helps prepare a supportive environment in your uterus for a fertilized egg.
Progesterone helps nurture the fetus.
A supply of progesterone to the endometrium continues to be important during pregnancy. Following a successful implantation, progesterone helps maintain a supportive environment for the developing fetus. After 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy, the placenta takes over progesterone production from the ovaries and substantially increases progesterone production.
Several types of progesterone are available, including vaginal products that deliver progesterone directly to the uterus. The different forms include the following:
Progesterone oral capsules, used vaginally:
A decision that you and your health care provider can make together.
Progesterone is an important part of infertility treatment because it supports implantation and pregnancy. Health care providers often have a preference for which form of progesterone they prescribe for infertility treatment. Their preference is generally based on their experience with the various methods. But patient convenience and request are also important considerations.
Most women prefer a progesterone formulation that is easy, convenient, and comfortable.
So, be sure to discuss your options with your health care provider.