Recurrent miscarriages are heartbreaking
Women who miscarry don’t often get the opportunity to understand what’s going on with their bodies.
Not too many years ago, my eldest daughter Maree pulled me aside, quite distressed.
“Mum, my neighbour Sarah is devastated. She’s been trying to have another baby, and this is her third miscarriage. Sarah gets pregnant easy enough but can’t get past the 7–9 week mark. Should we help her out with some progesterone?”
In my post Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Using Natural Progesterone to Heal I touched on how I researched safer choices for both my daughters after a diagnosis of PCOS when they were teenagers.
Bioidentical progesterone is identical to the hormone produced by the ovary. Therefore, topping up Sarah’s progesterone to ensure she had good levels circulating in her body, and using organic bioidentical progesterone cream, did not carry a risk to the mother or baby.
My daughter Maree has successfully used progesterone for over 15 years. She has first-hand experience using progesterone during her four pregnancies. And I’ve been using and coaching women on the safe use of progesterone for over 30 years.
Maree and I felt it couldn’t hurt Sarah to trial an organic bioidentical progesterone cream and see if that did the trick.
And it did!
Baby Mia was born close to nine months later! Mum and baby have thrived ever since.
When progesterone levels are low
Sarah didn’t know that between 7 and 9 weeks gestation, the placenta takes over the production of progesterone from the ovary.
It’s called the “luteal-placental shift”.
The corpus luteum is a mass of cells that forms in the ovary and produces progesterone during the early stage of pregnancy.
The luteal-placental shift happens when the placenta develops enough to begin producing hormones that sustain the pregnancy.
If a woman’s ovary cannot maintain sufficient progesterone levels until this shift occurs, then a miscarriage is the result.
And miscarriages tends to repeat if the underlying problem — low progesterone — isn’t addressed, as was the case with Sarah.
The medical term for it is luteal phase insufficiency
We helped Sarah order a premium organic progesterone cream, and my self-published eBook Progesterone & Pregnancy: A Guide to Using Bioidentical Progesterone to Facilitate Fertility and Support Pregnancy guided her in the when, where and how often to apply her cream.
Once Sarah reached 20 weeks gestation, we walked her through how to safely wean herself off progesterone cream so as not to cause her body’s progesterone levels to dip.
For young women searching for tried and tested information about how progesterone can enhance fertility and support pregnancy, here are a few chapters from my eBook.
Progesterone’s role in pregnancy
Of all female hormones, progesterone is the one most essential for conception and the survival of the fertilised egg and the fetus throughout gestation.
Progesterone levels in a woman’s body rise and fall dramatically with her monthly cycles.
At ovulation, progesterone production rapidly rises from 2–3mg per day to an average of 22mg per day, peaking as high as 30mg per day a week or so after ovulation.
After ten or twelve days, if fertilisation does not occur, her production of progesterone made in the ovary falls significantly. This sudden drop in progesterone levels (as well as estrogen) triggers a period, and another menstrual cycle will begin.
If pregnancy occurs, the ovary’s output of progesterone increases, preventing the shedding of the uterine lining and preserving the developing embryo.
As pregnancy progresses, progesterone production is taken over by the placenta and its secretion increases gradually to 300–400mg per day during the third trimester.
Rising progesterone levels during pregnancy prevent the premature shedding of the uterine lining (pro-gestation).
If progesterone levels drop due to inadequate progesterone production, a premature delivery could result. Or it could bring about a miscarriage in the early trimesters.
Progesterone also influences the development of the breasts during pregnancy in preparation for producing milk after the birth.
It impacts ligaments and muscles throughout the body as well, essentially to allow the suppleness and expansion necessary for giving birth.
Although the data are not entirely clear, it appears that progesterone may also have an effect on the transport time of the ovum in the fallopian tube, and it may make the ovum more susceptible to sperm penetration.
What does progesterone do?
- Helps to regulate the menstrual cycle
- Prepares the lining of the uterus for implantation
- Keeps the lining of the uterus thick which is necessary for a successful pregnancy
- Produces a rise in temperature after ovulation, which remains until menstruation occurs
- Creates a nutrient-rich environment for the baby by increasing glycogen and arterial blood to the lining of the uterus
- Keeps the uterus from having contractions
- Causes the cervix to thicken and create a mucous plug which prevents bacteria from entering the uterus
Since bioidentical progesterone reduces the incidence of congenital abnormalities and complications in pregnancy, it would seem reasonable to ensure that progesterone levels return to normal before getting pregnant.
Then, once you have confirmed you are pregnant, consider adding supplemental progesterone (cream) to top up your levels until at least mid-way through your pregnancy.
Make sure you select a progesterone cream that is all-natural and free of harmful chemical additives or artificial preservatives.
10 signs you might be pregnant
- A missed period
- A positive home pregnancy test
- Morning sickness
- Food cravings
- Darkening of your areolas (the skin around your nipples)
- Implantation bleeding or cramping
- Frequent urination
- Tender, swollen breasts
- Altered sense of taste
Unfortunately, none of these symptoms is unique to pregnancy. However, if you experience several of them together, you may want to take a home pregnancy test.
If your home pregnancy test is positive, make an appointment with your doctor right away to confirm the test results.
The sooner you begin prenatal care, the more likely you will have a healthy pregnancy.
Ovulation detectors that help you conceive
I gifted both my daughters an ovulation detector after their PCOS diagnosis.
These tiny reusable lipstick-shaped microscopes would look for ‘ferning’.
The hormone estrogen links saliva patterns to a woman’s fertility. As ovulation nears, estrogen increases and causes the body’s sodium levels to rise increasing the salinity of a woman’s saliva. Near ovulation the higher salt content causes the dried saliva to form crystallization patterns as seen under microscope. Both saliva and cervical mucus have shown these patterns. ~KNOWHEN.COM
Place a drop of saliva on the lens of your microscope once a day from the last day of your period until a fern-like pattern appears in the saliva.
This ferning pattern indicates ovulation is about to occur.
This test was considered extremely reliable in determining ovulation back in 2005 before online apps, and new-tech in-home ovulation methods.
These days, most ovulation tests assess a hormone made by the pituitary gland called luteinizing hormone (LH). Ovulation tests can detect the rise of LH 24–36 hours prior to ovulation and identifies the two best days to conceive in a given cycle. It’s more accurate than calendar and temperature methods and gives you unmistakably clear results on a digital display.
If this information was helpful to you, perhaps you’d consider buying me a cup of coffee.
Love, light & laughter