Progesterone serves as a precursor to testosterone and estrogen and cortisol, the stress hormone.
It is also the precursor of the hormones estrogen and testosterone in sex and is secreted mainly by the ovaries in women and the testes in men. The adrenal glands produce smaller amounts in the brain cells of women and men; this makes it fundamental in many biological functions.
Progesterone in pregnancy
The hormone progesterone is one of the many hormones produced that regulates and stimulates various functions in our body. Progesterone is produced by the ovaries and the placenta when a woman is pregnant and also by the adrenal glands. Its primary function is to prepare the uterus for the fertilized ovum implantation and maintain the pregnancy.
Progesterone levels vary during a woman’s menstrual cycle. It occurs just before ovulation and continues to increase in the last two weeks of a menstrual cycle. Its decrease at the end of the process promotes the detachment of the uterine lining and the start of menstruation.
Progesterone counteracts the effects of estrogen in the body, influences the nervous system by increasing drowsiness and decreasing anxiety, helps mature breast tissue and prepare for milk production, and promotes healthy appetite and storage of fat, especially in pregnant women.