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Progesterone Levels During Pregnancy

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Sunday, April 14, 2013 | 0 comments

What is progesterone?
Progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries that helps prepare the uterus for pregnancy.

 It is first produced by the corpus luteum in the ovaries and later is maintained by the placenta.

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.

What are normal progesterone levels?
Progesterone during menstrual cycle
Day 1-14 - greater than 1.0 to 1.5 ng/ml (US), outside the US - 3.18 - 4.77 nmol/L
Day 15-28 - 2.0 - 28 ng/ml (US), outside the US - 6.36 - 89.04 nmol/L

Progesterone during pregnancy
First Trimester: 9.0 - 47 ng/ml (US), outside the US - 28.62 - 149.46 nmol/L
Second Trimester: 17 - 147 ng/ml (US), outside the US - 54.06 - 467.46 nmol/L
Third Trimester: 55 - 200 ng/ml (US), outside the US - 174.9 - 636.0 nmol/L

Sometimes doctors will check a woman's progesterone level during pregnancy. Most doctors like to see a minimum level of 10 ng/ml (31.8 nmol/L) during the first few weeks of pregnancy. If a woman has low progesterone levels this can be an indication of a threatened miscarriage. If you are concerned about your progesterone level talk to your doctor for more information.


Progesterone-like steroid medication has a variety of effects on the immune system. This type of medication:
Blocks inflammation that can lead to scarring and damage to the placenta
Blocks the T cells and the B cells (lymphocytes) that can cause rejection of the placenta
Blocks the natural killer cells from releasing factors such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) that can damage the placenta and the lining of the uterus
Prevents lymphocytes from wandering into the placenta, sticking there and doing damage
Causes an increase in HCG production by the placenta, and HCG and progesterone block the killing power of NK cells
Prevents prostaglandin production by the uterus and stops contractions from occurring
Causes the cervix to produce a cervical plug that is rich in antibodies, which prevent germs and viruses from gaining access to the baby and the placenta


NOTE: US measurements differ from the rest of the world.
~ The conversion factor is 3.18 ~
Online Calculator: Progesterone Unit Conversion

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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