Preventing Miscarriage Using Progesterone Treatment
Progesterone, also referred to as the hormone of pregnancy, is a substance produced by ovaries and involved in the occurrence of pregnancy and development of the fertilized egg. It stimulates the thickening of the uterine wall in order to allow zygote’s implantation and to prepare a friendly environment for the fertilized egg to grow.
Progesterone’s roles in pregnancy
Levels of this hormone surge immediately after ovulation, allowing the body to prepare for a potential pregnancy. Cervical mucus becomes thicker in order to prevent pathogens from getting inside the cervix and uterine contractions are inhibited so that the fertilized egg can safely implant in the endometrial lining.
If fertilization takes place, levels of progesterone remain high until the placenta forms and starts producing additional amounts of this hormone. Elevated levels of progesterone prevent the thinning and shedding of the uterine lining and inhibit ovulation, which means the expecting mom will not ovulate again until after childbirth.
Heightened progesterone levels during pregnancy stimulate the growth of milk-producing glands but inhibit lactation during the gestation period. This hormone also protects the placenta against infections and directs the endometrial tissue to produce nutrient-rich fluids which nourish the embryo until placenta is fully developed and functional.
In a healthy woman, progesterone levels drop as her due date approaches and this signals the body to prepare for childbirth. However, when the decrease in progesterone production occurs in the earlier stages of gestation, risk of miscarriage increases as the organism’s ability of sustaining the embryo’s development is altered.
Does this mean a miscarriage can be prevented by supplementing the body’s levels of progesterone with products containing this hormone?
Preventing miscarriage with progesterone
Research studies show progesterone supplementation can reduce the risk of pregnancy loss even in women who have experienced two or more miscarriages in a row, as this hormone balances the immune system by causing a raise in certain cytokines (Arck, 2004). Treatment with progesterone has also been proven to be effective in preventing miscarriages caused by vaginal infections (Mitreski and Radeka, 2002). Rates of successful pregnancy after in vitro fertilization have increased with the use of supplementation in early stages of gestation.
A study conducted by Chinese researchers showed a pregnancy success rate of 82% in the group treated with a combination of progesterone and other natural products, compared to only 16.7% in the control group (Shu, Miao & colab., 2002).
Treatment for preventing a miscarriage can consist in daily applications of progesterone-based creams on the abdomen, starting with the first day after ovulation and ending right before or in your first day of menstruation. If you manage to conceive, you should continue applying the progesterone cream until week 12 of pregnancy, to make sure your body has enough of this hormone for sustaining the healthy development of the baby.
Oral progesterone capsules, intra-muscular progesterone injections administered during the first three months of pregnancy and micronized progesterone vaginal capsules are other effective progesterone-based treatments which can be used for preventing miscarriage. Also, this hormone can be administered in combination with other drugs and supplements, such as prednisone, folate, aspirin and hCG, pregnancy success rates being improved in all these cases.
Charlotte Sanchez-CPM is a Certified Professional Midwife and
Childbirth Educator Of Over 20Years.