What is progesterone? Just a simple look at the word itself gives us an idea of what its functions are. PROGESTERONE: the hormone which facilitates pregnancy. This is a good point from which to start out.
Progesterone plays an essential role in pregnancy and it has many and varied effects. It is a natural substance which is secreted from the ovaries following ovulation and continues throughout the second half of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone ensures that a woman’s uterus is receptive and, when production is insufficient, the embryo does not implant correctly or runs a high risk of leading to a miscarriage. It also relaxes the muscles in the uterus, making it better suited for the early days of pregnancy.
In terms of a woman’s breasts, progesterone ensures that they are suitable for breastfeeding. It is also largely responsible for the symptoms which are generally associated with the early days of pregnancy. For example, constipation, drowsiness, tiredness, etc. The reason for this is that, as well as in the ovaries, it is generated in the placenta, the organ which truly sustains pregnancy.
A lack of progesterone has a link to implantation failure, recurrent pregnancy loss and premature births. It is for this reason that, since it is a natural substance which poses no risks and which is highly tolerant, it is widely used in reproductive medicine.
It is used, therefore, following in vitro fertilisation (FIV) procedures as a back-up measure for embryo implantation, during the first weeks of pregnancy or for up to three or four months in patients who suffer from recurrent pregnancy loss and even throughout the entire pregnancy when there is a risk of premature birth.