Progesterone helped me

by Lisa

I am 33 years old and have had 2 live births and 6 losses that I believe are progesterone-deficiency related. The last pregnancy/loss I used progesterone suppositories and baby aspirin starting at week 7 because I started spotting and my OB said I would be a candidate for this therapy. I didn't have my usual contractions until about 18 weeks this time. I went off the suppositories for 48 hours at 18 weeks unintentionally and started having painful long contractions for about 6 hours until I was able to get my prescription refilled and got back on them. After that I would feel Braxton Hicks or short contractions once in a while that eased with rest or putting my feet up. I kept on the progesterone. At 28 weeks I had my cervix checked because I sensed something was amiss and found that my cervix was dilated to 1 cm and was very soft and short. I was put on bedrest. About 4 days later I started having regular light contractions every 10-15 minutes for 2 hours even when I laid down so I went in to the hospital to get checked out. They found no heartbeat.

My doctor showed up and said it sounded like a cord accident as I had seen him just 4 days earlier and everything was fine and I had been feeling regular strong movement up until the night before. I did not take my progesterone that evening, I went into full labor within 12 hours and gave birth to Isaac with his cord around his neck but otherwise in perfect shape. We did no autopsy and the placenta testing showed no infection or abnormalities.

My OB is convinced this was a freak accident because I had such a different pregnacy from my others. My first pregnancy I conceived immediately and had a lot of pre-term labor and gave birth at 33 weeks, placenta pathology showed some type of infection. I got pregnant a year later when my cycle returned and miscarried at 6 weeks. I was pregnant 2 months later and gave birth at 37 weeks. I was on Terbutaline for contractions starting at 21 weeks pregnancy for that one. As soon as I went off the Terbutaline at 37 weeks I went into labor. Placenta was normal. I got preganant a year later when my cycle returned and miscarried at 12 weeks although it had died at 7 weeks unbeknownst to me.

I was unable to get pregnant for 4 years after that. I used a pregesterone cream (not under practitioner care) for a month and got pregnant. I stopped the cream because I didn't know if I could continue using it. I miscarried an embryo at 6 weeks and continued to be pregnant with the twin having some spotting and cramping throughout the pregnancy and lost a baby boy at 19 weeks. His placenta came back showing acute amnioitis infection in the placenta, amniotic sac and cord. I immediately went on a regimen recommended by a Naturopath of Maca powder and a Chinese medicine and conceived 4 months later when we were not being "careful". I immediately got care from an OB and started on the progesterone at 7 weeks like I said at the beginning because I started spotting.

In my head and heart I believe that I have had a progesterone deficiency that comes and goes. I wonder if it may have been started when I went on Depo-Provera as a young woman for almost 4 years and it stopped my cycles. I think that progesterone therapy helped me carry my last baby as long as I did especially since the placenta pathology showed nothing abnormal.

It has been 4 months since we lost Isaac and we are trying again. My cycles are regular, I have been BBT and ovulation testing and all seems to be right on target. I have been taking the Maca powder. I had a progesterone blood test done on the 22 day of my last cycle and my OB said it was a good level to support a pregnancy.

My question...

Since I know exactly when I am ovulating and possible conceiving, should I start on the progesterone at mid-cycle (conception) to help support a possible pregnancy or should I wait until I have a positive pregnancy test?

Also, should I take a saliva test for progesterone and how do I convince my practitioner of that?

Thank you for any input. BTW, I am not a particular moody person (just a little the day before my period), I am in good health, never struggled with weight problems except when I tried Depo Provera 12 years ago, I have good energy, was diagnosed with endometriosis at 21 yrs old, eat a healthy diet, have no family history of pregnancy problems.

Comments for Progesterone helped me

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Mar 03, 2008
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much, you really helped me out!

Mar 22, 2008
Progesterone and pregnancy
by: Wray

Hi Lisa
Apologies for the late reply but I have been inundated with email queries from our web site. From your description I would say you are deficient in progesterone. There appears to be enough for the embryo to implant, but insufficient to carry the foetus to term.

I do have research papers on progesterone and pregnancy, miscarriages and pre-term births but space doesn't allow me to give them to you here. If you would send me an email via our 'contact us' button on the web I can attach them all to an email. Take care Wray

Jul 03, 2010
by: Anonymous

No! Progesterone on the day of ovulation can actually CAUSE a miscarriage--it can either prevent ovulation at all or make the uterine environment uninhabitable for a newly conceived embryo. Actually, that is why progesterone is added to artificial birth control (and why, for the same reasons, artificial bc can be an abortifacient).
Start the progesterone at least 3 days AFTER you've ovulated and then stay on it for the duration of your pregnancy. I've had two losses and two live births--one of the losses and the two live births were all while I was on progesterone while pregnant. I think the one loss was somewhat unrelated (long story). Anyway, best of luck and God bless!

Jul 06, 2010
by: Wray

Hi there I agree with not using progesterone on the day of ovulation, but it should be the day after, not 3 days. Studies conducted have found by comparing non-conception cycles with conception cycles, that the latter had a steeper early luteal rise in progesterone and higher mid-luteal oestrogen and progesterone concentrations. I've found using progesterone immediately after ovulation very successful at preventing miscarriages. I also agree about using it throughout pregnancy, particularly if recurrent miscarriages or pre-term births have been experienced. But progesterone cannot make the uterine environment uninhabitable for the embryo, without progesterone it will be. Progesterone rises continuously from ovulation until the third trimester of pregnancy when we make over 400ng/ml per day. Progesterone itself is not added to BC pills, progestins are, and as you say these can be dangerous. Take care Wray

Jan 12, 2012
would like more information from Wray
by: heather

You mentioned having studies you could pass along- too lengthy for comments. I am very interested in reading more. I am 33 weeks, and still using bioidentical progesterone cream under a doctor's care. This has been my best pregnancy yet. When I tried to stop taking the cream around 18 weeks (my midwife said I didn't need it), so many of my pregnancy complaints returned. Nausea, sleepless nights, aches and pains, and heartburn that made my throw up regularly. As long as I used the cream, I felt great!
Now that I am further along, I feel like my body must be slowly backing off because I'm using the same amount, but having less severe symptoms as listed above. Nothing like my other pregnancies, but the contractions (braxton hicks) are more noticeable, heartburn is back, etc. It's said that only women who have preterm labor are progesterone deficient, but I really wonder how many of us have deficiencies that can never be measured. Would love to research more about this.


Jan 29, 2012
would like more information from Wray
by: Wray

Hi Heather I do apologise about missing your post, it seems to have slipped through without coming to me. Since the first comment in 2008, I have since done a page on Pregnancy. It has all the research papers I mentioned to Lisa. It is possible to use progesterone the entire pregnancy, particularly if, like you, adverse symptoms come back. On the link I've given you is another link to an article Dr Dalton wrote, please read this too. Progesterone is frequently given to women with threatened or recurrent miscarriages. Preterm labour too, this is also caused by a lack of vitamin D, see here. Although the paper doesn't mention vitamin D, it does point out that Scotland has the highest rate of preterm births in Europe. Scotland has the highest rate of most diseases too, it's known as the Scottish Paradox, and has puzzled people for years. Cloud cover for 50% of the year reduces vitamin D levels severely. It's only now, very slowly, that researchers are realising that the Scottish Paradox is explained by this, see here and here. Take care Wray

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