How Does Progesterone Work?

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How Does Progesterone Work?

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Progesterone is mainly produced in the ovary by the corpus luteum on the second half of the menstrual cycle. This hormone plays a key role in menstruation and during pregnancy.

During day 14 of the menstrual cycle, when an egg cell burst from the ovary, the remains of the ovarian follicle that enveloped a developing egg create a tissue called the corpus luteum. This process produces progesterone and a little estradiol.

Progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy in case the released egg is fertilized. If the egg remains unfertilized, the corpus luteum tears apart and the level of progesterone decreases. From there, a new menstrual cycle commences.

On the other hand, if the egg is fertilized, progesterone encourages growth of blood vessels in the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and promotes supply of nutrients from the endometrium to support the growing embryo.

During the early phases of pregnancy, progesterone is regularly produced by the corpus luteum to support the pregnancy and help form the placenta.

In addition, progesterone is useful in the development of the fetus as it strengthens the walls of pelvic muscles to prepare for labor and stimulates maternal breast tissue growth. Overall, the level of progesterone consistently increases throughout pregnancy until the baby is born.