Progesterone is a hormone that helps regulate monthly periods in women or support a pregnancy. It collaborates with estrogen during a monthly cycle to build up the lining of the uterus and release an egg from the ovary. During the second half of a cycle, the progesterone levels peak in preparation for a fertilized egg. If fertilization does not occur, progesterone levels drop and a period begins. If there was a fertilized egg, the progesterone levels would be maintained in order to carry a pregnancy for 39 to 40 weeks. After pregnancy, progesterone levels drop once again. Some women experience side effects to this deficiency.
Progesterone fluctuates during and after pregnancy. In a healthy pregnancy, the placenta secretes progesterone throughout the entire gestation so levels are kept within a normal range. When the baby is delivered, so is the placenta. This drop in progesterone has been linked to postpartum depression. This is a condition that may become apparent within the six weeks postpartum. A woman may have depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and crying episodes, according to the NaProTechnology. Some health care providers use progesterone medications to treat this diagnosis.