What are normal levels of progesterone in the body?
Q: How can I know that my progesterone is up to the mark? Will blood tests help in finding out the same? What is the normal level of progesterone in the human body, especially during pregnancy?
A:The ovary functions both as an endocrine organ (producing hormones) and as a reproductive organ (producing ova). It secretes steroid hormones like estrogens, androgens, and progesterone whose orderly secretion in response to chemicals from the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland causes regular and predictable menstrual cycles. The ovary also maintains a store of ova (oocytes), which are released every month in response to the hormones. Progesterone is produced during the second half of the menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, it is produced in larger quantities by the placenta. Progesterone levels rise gradually throughout the entire pregnancy and a drop in progesterone levels at term helps start labour. Its levels during pregnancy are about 10 times higher than in the non-pregnant state. Abnormally high levels of progesterone may indicate a twin pregnancy or a placental disorder. Its levels may be estimated for the following reasons: 1. Investigation of infertility (helps determine whether ovulation is occurring) 2. Monitor the effect of drugs given for infertility 3. Assess the risk of abortion 4. Monitor ovarian & placental functioning during pregnancy 5. As a part of investigation for other endocrinal disorders As progesterone is released in a pulsatile fashion, a single sample is non-diagnostic. The use of multiple samples to overcome the pulsatile nature of progesterone secretion is generally preferred even though this makes the test more expensive and inconvenient. A sample may be taken each day for several days in a row. During non-pregnant state, the blood specimens are taken between 21-24 days of the menstrual cycle (mid luteal phase) and a progesterone level greater than 10 ng/ml represents adequate progesterone support from the corpus luteum. The normal reference intervals are as follows though each laboratory would mention its own reference interval. Before pregnancy: 1 to 28 ng/ml Conception to 12 weeks: 9 to 47 ng/ml 12 to 28 weeks: 17 to 146 ng/ml 28 weeks till birth: 55 to 200 ng/ml