Progesterone is a very important female sex hormone that plays an essential role in your menstrual cycle and the hormone makes it possible to become pregnant. It also protects your child and makes your body ready for breastfeeding. But that's not all! Read all about this crucial hormone here!
What is progesterone?
Progesterone is a female sex hormone that plays a major role in your menstrual cycle and is an essential hormone during pregnancy. This way your body is ready to be fertilized, it ensures that your body does not reject the fertilized egg and helps to protect your baby. Progesterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands.
What does progesterone do with your body?
Progesterone has various functions in your body, which are actually all linked to making it possible to reproduce yourself. This way it plays a role in your menstrual cycle, pregnancy and childbirth.
Progesterone and your menstrual cycle
Progesterone, together with estrogen, regulates your menstrual cycle. Your menstrual cycle roughly consists of two phases: the phase before ovulation and the phase after ovulation.
In the first phase, also known as the follicular phase, estrogen plays the main role and progesterone is in the background.
In the second phase (also called luteal phase), so after your ovulation, extra progesterone is produced. This production comes from the yellow body. The yellow body is the shell of the ovum that remains in the ovaries after ovulation.
The progesterone that is being produced at that moment ensures that your uterine wall prepares for possible implantation, for example a mucous membrane is developed. At the same time, progesterone inhibits the amount of LH hormone in your body so that no new egg cells mature. This way the fertilized egg can settle cleanly.
Is there no fertilized egg? Then the amount of progesterone in your body decreases, because the yellow body that was in the ovaries disappears. Because the amount of hormone drops, the uterine lining is repelled. You will be on time at that time.
Function of progesterone during pregnancy
If the egg is fertilized, the hCG hormone ensures that the yellow body remains intact and does not disappear, so that the progesterone can continue to produce. Your period therefore remains off and your endometrial lining remains intact. The egg can be so beautiful implanted. Other functions of progesterone during pregnancy:
- It closes the cervix, so that no sperm can penetrate and your child is protected against infection. This does the hormone by contributing to the development of the mucus plug that closes the uterus.
- It prevents your uterus from rejecting the fruit.
- It protects your baby by ensuring that your immune system tolerates and does not attack the 'foreign body' in your body.
- In the beginning of the pregnancy it ensures that your baby is supplied with food through the uterine wall. This function is later taken over by the placenta.
- In collaboration with the hormones prolactin and estrogen, the hormone stimulates the development of mammary glands and milk ducts in your breasts. In this way your body is prepared for breastfeeding.
Roll progesterone before delivery
This hormone protects your baby and ensures that your body does not expel your baby prematurely. This tries to get the hormone together until your little one is big enough to be born. To ensure that you do not give birth too early, progesterone inhibits the hormones that induce labor. These are the hormones oxytocin and prostaglandin (makes your uterine mouth better).
When it's time to give birth, the amount of progesterone in your body will drop and the other hormones will have free rein to make childbirth possible.
Does progesterone have side effects?
It is a beautiful and quite essential hormone, especially if you want to become pregnant and want to put a healthy baby on the world. Unfortunately, you have to pay a small price for this. Progesterone has a few side effects. Think of:
Progesterone lowers your blood pressure a bit so you sometimes feel dizzy or light in your head.
In cooperation with the hCG hormone progesterone ensures that you can become nauseous, especially in the first trimester.
The hormone loosens your blood vessels so you have a higher chance of developing varicose veins.
The hormone affects all muscles in your body. It makes them more weak and that happens with the lid that closes your stomach. This allows the stomach acid to be pushed upwards. You will notice this especially at the end of the pregnancy if the pressure on your stomach increases due to your large uterus and growing baby.
Pain in your pelvis, back or hips:
As said, this hormone weakens your muscles and causes the joints of your pelvis to become looser. That is all necessary for a better delivery. But before that happens, you can get bothered by it, especially in your hips, lower back or tailbone.
By progesterone your brain will work a little slower, this has the result that your concentration is no longer optimal and you become increasingly forgetful. Of course you are only concerned with that small miracle in your stomach. Not so strange that it is difficult to remember other things in your daily life.
A progesterone deficiency can lead to a number of complaints. It is in any case a very important hormone to become pregnant.After all, it is a sex hormone. First, a shortage of progesterone can help to get an irregular menstrual cycle. For example, it can take very short or longer, come too early or too late. In the worst case, a shortage can cause your fertility to be compromised and thus fail to become pregnant.
A shortage can be caused by stress or other external factors, which do not necessarily indicate physical problems. Sometimes it can already help to adjust your eating style or lifestyle, such as going healthier for example. If this does not help, your doctor may decide to switch to hormone treatment. So there is something to do about a progesterone deficiency.