What Are The Functions Of Progesterone ?
Progesterone is an important female reproductive hormone that works in conjunction with estrogen during the menstrual cycle. When a woman gets pregnant, many of them suffer from constipation, tenderness of the breasts, diarrhea, constipation, and changes in the appetite. All these problems occur due to elevated levels of progesterone in the body.
There are many functions of progesterone in the body, and some of them are highlighted below:
When ovulation takes place, the matured egg is released from the ovary in an enclosed follicle known as corpus luteum. This follicle is responsible for secreting progesterone and thereby preparing the body for possible pregnancy. The progesterone thickens the lining of the uterus to facilitate implantation of the fertilized egg. However, if fertilization does not occur, then the corpus luteum stops producing progesterone and this causes the thickened uterus lining to shed resulting in menstrual period.
When the egg is fertilized, then the corpus luteum continues to secrete progesterone until the placenta is matured enough to take over the production of the hormone. This occurs at the end of the first trimester. Once the placenta begins to secrete the hormone, the corpus luteum disappears from around the embryo.
The hormone is also responsible for stopping the contraction of the uterus. However, if fertilization does not take place, then corpus luteum stops producing the progesterone and this causes the uterus to begin contractions to expel the unwanted thickened lining of the uterus. Also, as the pregnancy progress, the levels of progesterone keep decreasing gradually and this again causes the uterus to contract leading to childbirth.
Progesterone is also responsible for stimulating the breast tissue to grow when fertilization takes place. The blood flow to the breast increases and this is the reason pregnant women have tender breasts. In addition, progesterone facilitates the development of milk duct and glands to prepare the breasts for lactation. However, at the same time, lactation is prevented due to high levels of progesterone and it only takes place when the levels of the hormone fall and childbirth occurs.
When a woman gets pregnant, the opening of the cervix is blocked by the mucus plug. This plug has antibodies that prevent bacteria from causing any harm to the growing embryo. The moment the level of the hormone decreases in the body, it causes the mucus plug to dislodge due to a process known as effacement. This process causes the cervix to dilate and this results in the plug getting thin and being expelled from the body. This occurs a few days before labor begins.
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