If you are trying to get pregnant and undergoing infertility treatment, your doctor may recommend that you take progesterone. Different forms of progesterone are available to help your body prepare for pregnancy.
The hormone progesterone is essential in helping your body prepare for and maintain a healthy pregnancy. Progesterone offers several benefits for conception:
- It prepares your uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg.
- After an embryo implants into your uterine lining, progesterone helps to support the growing fetus.
- When progesterone levels are too low, fertilized eggs may not implant properly, and miscarriage may occur.
Some women do not produce enough progesterone to support a pregnancy, making progesterone supplementation necessary. Your doctor may also recommend that you take progesterone supplements if you are undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
There are several ways to take progesterone supplements: vaginally, orally, or as an intramuscular injection. Each route of administration has its own risks and benefits. Talk to your doctor to determine which of these methods is best for you.
- Progesterone injections are intramuscular shots given once per day following the egg retrieval with IVF.
- Progesterone oral pills may be taken up to three times per day or inserted into the vagina.
- Progesterone vaginal gel comes in an applicator and is used once or twice per day.
- Vaginal suppositories are inserted into your vagina two to three times per day.
Your doctor may recommend that you take progesterone for up to 8 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Or, you may be able to stop taking progesterone as early as six to seven weeks gestation. It really depends on your particular condition and your doctor’s recommendations. Like other fertility drugs, progesterone supplementation may cause side effects. Always discuss any fertility drug side effects with your doctor should they occur.
Additional resources about progesterone:
- How Progesterone Works: Attain Fertility
- What is Progesterone? The American Fertility Association
- Progesterone and pregnancy: a vital connection: RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
Britt Berg is a medical writer and is content manager for Attain Fertility. She is also a trained therapist and co-author of Making a Baby, a book about infertility.
Medically reviewed by Dr. Lowell T. Ku, M.D., an award winning and leading Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist at Dallas IVF, one the nation’s premiere infertility centers. Dr. Ku clarifies the many confusing terms used in the world of Infertility using straightforward explanations.