Progesterone levels in the blood come from the corpus luteum and are helpful after ovulation and to find out if you ovulated or not. Low progesterone levels are not normal.When you ovulate there is an area in the ovary called "corpus luteum" which is responsible for the production of progesterone.
Low progestone levels below 10 ng/ml usually mean that ovulation has likely not happened or you tested too early, less than a week after ovulation.
Pregnancy cannot be diagnosed from progesterone levels alone. Progesterone cream cannot be used after ovulation to improve fertility.
Progesterone levels rise after ovulation, and the rise can usually be detected about a week after ovulation. There are no "normal" progesterone levels after ovulation.
- Progesterone levels after ovulation (midluteal, middle of the second half of the cycle) in a nonpregnant patient are generally at least 8-10 ng/ml. Much lower levels usually mean you did not ovulate.
- Progesterone levels can change from one day to the other, from one hour to the next, from one laboratory to the next.
- After you eat, progesterone levels can drop by as much as 50%, that's why the blood test should be done in the morning and before you eat.
- Even on the same day women may have different levels.
- Progesterone levels are usually well below 5-10 ng/ml without ovulation.
- If you are pregnant, progesterone levels are usually at least 10-12 ng/ml to have a better chance of a good pregnancy outcome and most doctors like to see progesterone levels around 16-18 ng/ml or more though there are many successful pregnancies with lower levels.
- With an ectopic pregnancy, progesterone levels are lower when compared with an intrauterine pregnancy.
- There are differences in opinion as to what to do if progesterone levels are low after ovulation.
- Some doctors suggest giving progesterone (pills, shots, or suppositories) but many others do not treat unless you have IVF or injectable ovulation medications or if there has been proof of a preexisting low progesterone in nonpregnancy cycles and there are immune issues leading to miscarriages.