Low progesterone level: Cause for concern?

Last year I got pregnant and at eight weeks, they discovered that there was no fetus in the embryo sac. I am now pregnant again. At six weeks, my doctor discovered that I had low levels of progesterone and I am now taking this hormone. Are low progesterone levels in pregnancy a cause for concern?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Clinically, we observe that women with low levels of progesterone are at a higher risk of pregnancy loss. But, in controlled studies, the supplementation of progesterone during early pregnancy has not been proven to prevent miscarriage.

When the egg ruptures from the follicle on the ovary, a corpus luteum is formed. This area on the ovary secretes progesterone which sustains the pregnancy until implantation when the embryo is firmly connected to the uterine lining. At this later point, the placenta takes over much of the hormone production.

Women with "luteal phase defect" who do not seem to produce enough progesterone are often supplemented with progesterone. In your case, you seemed to produce enough progesterone initially because the pregnancy survived and did not miscarry. The fact that the pregnancy continued was an indication that progesterone levels at that time were adequate, so there really is no cause for concern.

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