Serum progesterone is a test to measure the amount of progesterone in the blood. Progesterone is a hormone produced mainly in the ovaries.
In women, progesterone plays a vital role in pregnancy. After an egg is released by the ovaries (ovulation), progesterone helps make the uterus ready for implantation of a fertilized egg. It prepares the womb (uterus) for pregnancy and the breasts for milk production.
Men produce some amount of progesterone, but it probably has no normal function except to help produce other steroid hormones.
A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture.
Your health care provider may tell you to stop taking drugs that may affect the test. Drugs that can interfere with the test include progesterone and birth control pills.
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
This test is done to:
Progesterone levels vary depending on when the test is done. Blood progesterone levels start to rise midway through the menstrual cycle, continue to rise for about 6 to 10 days, and then fall if fertilization does not result.
Levels continue to rise in early pregnancy.
This following are normal ranges based upon certain phases of the menstrual cycle and pregnancy:
Note: ng/mL = nanograms per milliliter
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
Higher-than-normal levels may be due to:
Lower-than-normal levels may be due to:
There is very little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
Progesterone blood test (serum)
Fritz MA, Speroff L. Female infertility. Speroff L, Fritz MA, eds. Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011:chap 27.
Fritz MA, Speroff L. Recurrent early pregnancy loss. Speroff L, Fritz MA, eds. Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011:chap 28.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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