Does Progesterone Work

91 Replies
Kim - November 30

I'm hoping someone can help. I've just had my second miscarriage and met with my doctor to follow up and come up with a plan for my next pregnancy. She is testing my blood for anticoagulants, lupus, and thryoid. She told me to take baby aspirin. I asked about progesterone (and i know there is a huge debate over this) - she does not believe that progesterone supplements decrease your likelihood of miscarriage, because there have been no studies that significantly show that it works. She says as many people miscarry while on supplements as those who are not on them. I trust her greatly, she has been very helpful to us through all this mess, and has greater access to information supplied by the medical community than I do. But it's just nagging me - does it really work to sustain a pregnancy or doesn't it? I know some women have used it successfully especially with luteal phase defect, but I seem to make it just fine to the 9th week and then things go sour. This last time, we even saw a healthy heartbeat and developing baby. Would progesterone supplements have worked for me or is it a myth?

 

Jen - November 30

Kim, it is a crazy debate. I think if youre body doesn't produce enough prog then it probably would help. Sometimes I think people take it even when their body is producing it and I don't know if that would help anything. I took it at 5 weeks, saw a hb at 6 weeks, and lost my baby at 8 weeks. I think my body doesn't make enough we're going to get it tested to make sure. Next time I will take it a lot sooner, at the correct time.

 

Kim - November 30

Hi Jen, thanks so much for your opinion. Good luck to your with your test and I hope you find a simple solution and have a totally healthy pregnancy.

 

Jennifer - November 30

Kim, like you said there is a huge debate, and you're going to get all kinds of opinions, but with that said I believe it worked for me. I had 3 misscarriages before this baby (I'm 38 weeks pregnant, due Dec 15th) I had never heard of projesterone, well after the 3rd misscarriage I really started doing some research and read about it, so once I found out I was pregnant again I asked to be put on projesterone ASAP, and I've carried this baby to full term and had a healthy uneventful pregnancy. It made a believer out of me. Also when I first found out I was pregnant this time, My husband and I didn't tell the family for quite a while, but we did tell our pastor and his wife to request prayer, anyway my pastor's wife encouraged me to ask about projesterone because she had several misscarriages before haveing her two daughters and she took projesterone with both of her girls.

 

Kara - November 30

Ask her to check your progesterone on day 21 of you cycle (a__suming you have a 28 day cycle). If you don't have a regular cycle, start charting your temp with a basal thermometer for a few cycles. My pharmasist had to order me one, but it was only $6. If you don't see a significant rise in your temp at ovulation, you may have LPD. With your tempurature proof, you should be able to get your doctor to do an endometrial biopsy which is the gold standard is diagnosing LPD. My doc does prescribe progesterone, but usually only after you are already pregnant. Which is stupid since it is almost worthless then. But since I had been charting my temp and was able to show her my low temp, she gave me the Rx to take at ovulation. There are some doctors who believe the low progesterone is a contibuting factor in 40% of miscarriages.

 

Melissa - December 1

Like you said there is a big debate over this. My friends doctor didn't even test for progesterone levels, yet my doctor had me taking the progesterone suppositories twice a day. I still miscarried at 8.5 weeks. My own theory is that if you are a little low on progesterone they may help you, but if you were destined to lose the pregnancy then I think the progesterone may just prolong the inevitable. We too, saw a heartbeat at 6 weeks, but lost it almost 3 weeks later. I think if a miscarriage(s) is purely a progesterone issue, then maybe they can help, but if your miscarraige was a chromosonal issue or something else, then I don't think they do anything. At any rate, they can't hurt, so I think a doctor will prescribe them as a safeguard.

 

Kim - December 1

Thank you all very much for your input. JENNIFER, your story is amazing. I am so happy that you are pregnant and healthy and that baby will be arriving in two weeks! Wow. Congratulations to you. KARA: thanks for your input too. I have been charting my temps for three years (I used FAM for birth control for the last couple of years. It has been so helpful, and I am quite sure it is not luteal phase defect, since I have a clear thermal shift each time after ovulation. Also, if it were luteal phase defect, wouldn't I be miscarrying much earlier? I keep making it to about 9 weeks (the first was definitely a chromosome abnormality, indicated by an extremely low heartbeat of 66 bpm and a way too big yolk sac. Plus baby was measuring two weeks behind dates.) This time everything was going perfectly, good heartbeat, good measurements, and then just like that, baby is gone. It is so frustrating. I think what I plan to do is wait until I'm pregnant again and then have them test my progesterone, like Jennifer did. MELISSA: Thank you too! Your theory makes a lot of sense. There is so much debate over which causes which - is it the low progesterone that causes miscarriage or the other way around? I will definitely ask my doctor about them again when I'm pregnant. I will be starting baby asprin for sure, so that may help as well. Thanks all!

 

Cabbie - December 1

I too am a believer in progesterone. I have two living children (ages 3&6). I was on clomid with both of them. Since then I have had three miscarriages (without clomid). When I found out I was pregnant again, the dr immediately put me on progesterone. He said perhaps the clomid boosted my hormone levels to give me two successful pregnancies. Anyway, I've had a six week scan with 130 heartbeat, at 8w scan with a 160 heartbeat, and just had my 11 1/2 wk scan with no heartbeat measured but a strong one shown (couldn't hear with dopplar 'cause of tilted uterus so did a quick scan to check). All my measurements have been great too. I also did baby aspirin with this one until all my blood test came back negative (my mom has Lupus). I still know anything can happen. According to my ultrasound, I am 12w 1 d. According to my LMP I am 11w 2d, and according to my 26 day cycle I am 11w 4d. All very confusing. Anyway, I lost my babies at 6w, chemical pregnancy, and a blighted ovum diagnosed at 10w. I am praying all goes well as the dr was happy he could already feel my uterus jutting out and the last ultrasound the baby was sleeping and when he pushed down with the wand, it started jumping around. Pretty cute. Anways, just wanted to put my two cents in and am praying all continues well. I have read many of your stories on the Aug/Sep thread and other thread, and hope for you all the best. The fear still hasn't gone away even though my dr is very pleased and told me my chances of carrying this one to term are over 95%. I think the fear with never go a way until this baby is born and then sets in a whole new set of fears! Good luck to you all. By the way, my progesterone level was at 18 at 4w. Dr said most specialists like to see it over 20 during first of pregnancy. Put me on 100mg 2 times daily (suppositories). He said we would never really know, but I am a believer.

 

Kim - December 1

Cabbie, yes you are familiar! I've seen you hanging around this site since I first miscarried in June. Thank you for writing, I appreciate your advice. You all are convincing me that I at least need to get it check as soon as I know I'm pregnant, just to make sure. If it doesn't hurt, why not? I am so happy this pregnancy is going so well for you, and being given a 95% chance is fantastic! That's a number you can take to the bank. Congratulations to you and thanks again.

 

Kara - December 2

Kim- Since you are having fetal demise, you may want to look into having a color u/s to check to see if you are getting enough blood thru your arteries that feed your uterus. The hcg your body produces dilates out those arteries to feed the baby. If your hcg is not fuctioning properly (even if the levels are normal) the arteries will be too rigid. The treatment for this is to get hcg injections. Baby asprin will not treat this, as it is a artery problem, not a blood problem. Not all doctors are aware that this problem even exists, but it might be worth looking into. I have had three miscarriages and all the standard "habitual aborter" work-up. All with normal results. This artery problem is an area that my NEW doctor wants to explore. Best of luck to you!

 

Kim - December 2

Kara - thanks! I have never heard of that before, I will definitely mention it to my doctor and find out her opinion on the matter. I know that during my last u/s, they did do a portion of it "in color" - I wonder if that was what they were looking for? Normal blood flow through the arteries? I did ask at my follow up if my low blood pressure (not TOO low, but probably a bit lower than normal) could have had an affect on the blood not being able to get through the placenta and caused the miscarriage, and my doctor said no. That sounds like a bit of a different kind of problem though, so I'll ask about the hcg/arteries. Thanks!

 

Erin - December 2

Melissa is right. My story is a lot like hers. I was on progesterone for 5th pregnancy (which turned out to be my fourth miscarriage) when my level was 11 at 5 weeks. Everything seemed to be OK after that, saw baby, good heartbeat, but I still miscarried at 10 weeks. It was a missed miscarriage. I only knew from the ultrasound. I am seeing a specialist now. I came back positive for MTHFR, which is one of those clotting things. I am seing a bigtime doctor in NYC and she claims most low progesterone levels are due to bad pregnancies. Very few women actually have LPD, and they are in a way lucky, because progesterone is their ticket. I had a 21 day progesterone test last month, and it came back at a whopping 26.5, which is actually slightly higher than the "average range." So I definately did not need progesterone. In fact, it probably kept the pregnancy going for weeks longer than it should of. There's no easy answer here. Much of it is just trial and error. An ob/gyn once described early pregnancy as akin to black magic, it is so mysterious. Good luck!

 

Kim - December 2

Thanks Erin. That's pretty much the story I've been getting from every medical professional. I wish it were LPD - then I'd know for sure how to fix the problem easily. But oh well. Maybe next time will just work out on its own. Good luck to you - I hope you get your healthy baby real soon. I'm sorry you've been through this so many times, I don't know how you are still standing.

 

Erin - December 5

Hi Kim - Just to rea__sure you, you can have repeat miscarriages with no real answer and have a healthy pregnancy as well. I've had 4 mc's, but do have a healthy little girl. She keeps me going...:) I don't say this to boast or make anyone feel bad, but to offer hope to all.

 

Kim - December 5

Erin thank you! As a matter of fact, I just got a call from my nurse and my lupus anticoagulant and thyroid tests have come back normal. I'm hoping I'm just experiencing some bad luck and will be okay the next time. I'm so glad you have your little girl to bless you and hope soon she'll have a totally healthy brother or sister to play with. I think I read on another post that you have MTHFR and will be taking heparin when you become pregnant again, is that right?

 

Erin - December 6

Heparin only if my homocystine levels are high, otherwise just the baby aspirin and a mega B complex supplement. MTHFR results in an inability to process Folic acid and B vitamins effectively, which can raise homocystine levels in the blood and which can therefore cause clotting problems. By the way, my ob/gyn told me that 8-9 weeks was a common time to miscarry embryos with genetic abnormalities. Very early mc's, like 6 weeks, are more often hormone related.

 

Kim - December 6

Erin I'm sorry that you've been diagnosed with something, that must be scary. But I'm happy that your doctors are finding a way to treat you and give you a little confidence. Being proactive helps you feel less 'helpless' I guess. I hope all works out for you next time. And thanks for the little tidbit about 8-9 week pregnancies, that is helpful.

 

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