The word progesterone is a descendant of Latin etymology. It's root—gestates—means to carry. If you've ever needed definitive proof that this hormone is invaluable to fertility, there you have it.
But progesterone is much more than a word. It is the life-sustaining substance that all women produce that enables them to carry babies to term before giving birth. During pregnancy, a woman's progesterone levels will multiply by a factor of ten. Miraculously, this hormone oversees a multitude of bodily processes during the nine months it takes to develop a baby. Read on to find out how progesterone prepares your body for the feat of making a baby.
A little known fact of pregnancy is that doctors usually consider the beginning of your pregnancy the end of your last menstrual period, which is due in part to the changes that progesterone initiates in your reproductive system during this time. Sometime between the end of your menstrual period and conception, one of the ovaries will release an egg, a process known as ovulation. One of the most important changes that will happen during ovulation is the production of progesterone from the ovaries.
During ovulation, progesterone causes the lining of the uterus to become thicker so that an embryo may implant itself in that lining. This key action will make sure that the growing fetus has a protective environment in which to develop. A hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) released from the fertilized egg will spur the continued production of progesterone from the ovary. If the embryo was not present, no hCG would be produced, and your uterine lining would shed. In other words, you'd get your menstrual period.
Around the tenth week of pregnancy, the placenta begins to produce even more progesterone in order to sustain the baby's developmental environment.
Throughout the pregnancy, progesterone also prevents the contraction of the uterine muscles so that you won't go into premature labor. It also speeds up the growth of blood vessels in the walls of the uterus, so that nutrients can be transferred from the mother to her developing baby. In fact, progesterone is so important in gestational development that women who have low levels of this hormone are often given weekly injections of it to prevent miscarriage and premature birth.
Progesterone is responsible for changes in mood and the appetites of pregnant women. Click on the following link to learn more about treatments towards progesterone imbalance.
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