During an infertility assessment, when a woman is having trouble getting pregnant and her health care provider wants to verify that she is ovulating normally; the test may be ordered a few times during a woman's menstrual cycle to evaluate the change in progesterone concentrations.
When it is necessary to determine when ovulation has occurred and following drug therapy to induce ovulation
When symptoms, such as abdominal pain and spotting, suggest an ectopic pregnancy or threatened miscarriage
On a regular basis when a woman requires progesterone replacement therapy to help maintain her pregnancy
Periodically throughout a high-risk pregnancy to monitor placenta and fetal health
When a non-pregnant woman is experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding
Interpretation of progesterone test results depends on the reason for testing and requires knowledge of the point at which a woman is in her menstrual cycle or pregnancy. Progesterone levels usually start to elevate when an egg is released from the ovary, rise for several days, and then either continue to rise with early pregnancy or fall to initiate menstruation.
If progesterone levels do not rise and fall on a monthly basis, a woman may not be ovulating nor having regular menstrual periods. This may be a cause of infertility.
If levels do not rise normally during an early pregnancy, the pregnancy may be ectopic and/or may be failing. If serial measurements do not show increasing progesterone levels over time, there may be problems with the viability of the placenta and fetus.
Increased progesterone levels are seen occasionally with:
This article was last reviewed on April 8, 2014. | This article was last modified on February 24, 2015.
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