Written by Gabby Borgerink
What Is Progesterone?
Progesterone is our calming, wonder woman hormone that swoops in after ovulation and provides us with lots of amazing benefits such as:
- natural anti-anxiety,
- helping to regulate our sleep,
- being crucial for optimal fertility.
How Do We Get Progesterone?
Before we dive in, let’s get a quick background of how we get progesterone.
Prior to ovulation, a follicle in the ovary is stimulated to grow. Once the egg is released at ovulation (by the triggering of Lutenizing Hormone (LH)), the sac that holds the egg, called the Corpus Luteum, starts to produce progesterone for us; and will continue to do so for the second half of our cycle.
Why Do We Need Progesterone?
Progesterone helps prepare the uterus for implantation and ensures we can maintain a healthy pregnancy, if an egg does happen to be fertilized.
Long story short: Ovulation has to occur for us to get adequate levels of progesterone and optimal fertility.
But, progesterone is not just for pregnancy. It also helps balance out estrogen’s effects. Without healthy levels of progesterone, a whole host of symptoms can arise.
Signs of low progesterone can be:
- Short luteal phase
- Mood swings and PMS
- Disrupted sleep/insomnia
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness
How Can We Check Our Progesterone Levels?
One simple way is to help us identify low progesterone levels is by charting.
Two indicators of low progesterone on our chart is if our sleeping temperature shows:
- Low temperatures in our chart during the luteal phase.
- A slow climb of temperatures after ovulation instead of a quick increase in temperature.
What Can We Do If We Identify Low Progesterone Levels?
- Reduce stress and make your body feel safe
When you are under immense stress the body doesn’t feel safe and ovulation can be delayed, or skipped all together. We want to ensure stress levels are low all the time but especially leading up to ovulation.
- Eat regular meals every 3-4 hours and do not restrict calories
Make sure you are eating regular meals. Undereating or over exercising can be a stressor to your body. Ensuring you are getting enough protein, fat and carbs at each meal will fuel your body; your blood sugar won’t dip and you won’t be stressing about where your next meal is coming from.
- Eat healthy fats
Coconut oil, avocado, sardines, ghee, grass fed butter, etc. Don't be afraid of saturated fats because they actually help calm our bodies! They also help us absorb fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K.
- Make sure you are getting minerals
Minerals are so crucial for every single system in our body -managing stress, balancing our blood sugar, supporting ovaries and hormones.
You can get crucial minerals such as potassium, magnesium, sodium and other trace minerals from fruits, quality sea salt, meat, bone broth, fish, organ meats and fresh squeezed orange juice.
- Get your sleep
Sleep is where our body heals and repairs. Lack of sleep can be a huge stressor on the body so get quality, deep sleep every single night.
- Spend time outside
Being out in nature is very calming to the body and can instantly lower stress. The sun also boosts our mood and vitamin D, resets our circadian rhythm and lowers stress.
- Deep breathing throughout the day
Deep breathing can instantly get us from a sympathetic fight or flight state and into a relaxed parasympathetic state. Parasympathetic state is where our body feels safe to ovulate, produce healthy amounts of hormones, digest properly, repair and heal.
As part of your 2021 goals, make small adjustments to improve your progesterone levels and fully benefit from this fabulous hormone!
Gabby Borgerink is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner who works with women to educate about hormones and how they can support their body through nutrition and lifestyle. After her experience coming off hormonal contraception and trying both conventional and alternative health care, Gabby believes in the power of listening to your body and getting to the root cause of your health problems through a holistic approach. Her goal is for women to take back the power of their menstrual cycle and support them in balancing their hormones from a bio-individual approach. Visit her website or find her on Instagram to connect and learn more.