the Pro-Gestation Club

Does this sound like you?

  • Irregular Menstrual Cycles: Cycles are either too short (< 21 days) or too long (>35 days)

  • Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: Progesterone imbalance can lead to an increase in blood flow, sometimes accompanied by clots

  • Short Luteal Phase: Less than 10 days of a luteal phase makes it challenging for a fertilized egg to implant

  • Spotting Before Menstruation: Low progesterone can create light, intermittent vaginal bleeding or discharge that can happen in the days leading up to your period

  • Mood Swings and Irritability: Optimal progesterone is the brain’s chill pill. Without it, anxiety, grumpy gremlin, and the “PMS monster” are all very real possibilities

  • Breast Tenderness: Progesterone helps prepare the breasts for potential pregnancy, so low levels can lead to reduced breast tenderness and swelling.

  • Difficulty Maintaining Pregnancy: Low progesterone can make it difficult to maintain a pregnancy, often resulting in early miscarriages, particularly in the first trimester.

Based on the smart fertility Assessment, you likely have:

low progesterone or luteal phase defect

What is estrogen all about?

Well, it quite literally translates to the pro-gestation hormone. Meaning, it is essential to sustaining pregnancy. Imagine your ovary as a factory that makes a special hormone called progesterone. After you release an egg (ovulate), a temporary structure called the 'corpus luteum' pops up in your ovary. This structure is like a big progesterone-making machine. It gets to work during the second part of your monthly cycle after ovulation, kind of like a superhero. Its job is to make and release progesterone to help prepare your body for a possible baby. So, when you hear about the 'luteal phase,' that's when the corpus luteum is doing its important progesterone-creating job.

Progesterone has several key functions in the body:

  • thicken the uterine lining

  • regulate the menstrual cycle

  • support healthy pregnancy

  • develop breast tissue

  • temperature regulation

  • changing the cervical mucus consistency, making it less sperm-friendly because the egg was already ovulated for that cycle

  • lipid metabolism to maintain healthy cholesterol levels

  • modulate the immune system to make it easier for the embryo (if there is one!) to grow

How does this affect fertility?

Progesterone is named for its leading action which is pro + gestation, meaning growing a little human. However, Progesterone can be deficient or have a relative deficiency compared to estrogen. In each case, the result is the same - your body thinks it’s not a good time to make a baby.

It’s a little more nuanced than this because progesterone is a reflection of the production and ovulation of an egg. The corpus luteum is the shell of the egg that is ovulated in any given cycle. That shell sticks around and makes progesterone to help thicken the uterine lining, and the shell will continue producing progesterone for the baby for the first 10 weeks of gestation. So, if there is a high-quality egg released, the shell of that egg will be equally high-quality, helping produce progesterone for the rest of the cycle. On the other hand, if the egg is not of great quality, we may see symptoms of low progesterone, and tests will conclude that progesterone is low.

Stress & Progesterone

There are also a few other things that happen related to progesterone that we should know about. When we experience high levels of stress (internal or external), the body goes into fight-flight-survival mode, which diverts energy away from safety-thrive mode. Since progesterone is for gestation, often the body will divert its resources to more immediate needs that involve the production of other neurotransmitters and hormones, rather than making hormones that it doesn’t really need at the moment. So, if you’ve ever had a wonky period because of stress - such as after exams, while traveling, or even after having the flu - some of that stress could be causing a temporary shift in hormone production. However, if this stress continues for a long time, progesterone production often suffers.

So, supplementing progesterone, which so many women are suggested to do, as a solution for fertility, often doesn’t get to the root of the issue, and often masks the underlying problems that can and should be addressed.

This little info page is just the beginning... get your own personalized fertility plan, created specifically for your needs!

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About Dr. Aumatma

Madre Fertility Co-Founder

With an emphasis on hormonal harmony, increased mental and emotional well-being, and overall physical health improvement, Dr. Aumatma Simmons has helped thousands of couples achieve fertility success.

15-year, double-board certified Naturopathic Doctor and Endocrinologist

Best-selling author, host of the Egg Meets Sperm postcast

2015 & 2020 "Best Naturopathic Medicine Doctor" locally

2021 & 2021 top "Women in Medicine" doctor

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