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Old 01-08-2013, 05:52 PM   #1
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help me make a decision about progesterone

I'm really lost here. I had a m/c a year ago, and now I'm 9 1/2 weeks preggo with my rainbow baby. So, when I became pregnant with this one, I asked to have my progesterone levels monitored as well. My first levels were a 6 (I was 4 weeks pregnant). My midwife said she likes to see the levels at 25 in the first trimester. Upon research, I see that the levels can vary bigtime from 9-49 would be normal. I couldn't afford the $740 prescription the other midwife ordered, so I opted for an over the counter progesterone cream. At week 6, my levels were an 11. And at week 8, my levels were 16.

I'm now in my 9th week and at week 8, my midwife gives me prometrium 100mg oral pills (which was way cheaper for me!). The day after taking them, I noticed a huge difference in my body. All of a sudden, I'm very tired, super sore and getting bigger boobs, dizzy, very very nausiated, and moody. I really hate how I feel, so I told my midwife, and she said I can take them vaginally as well, and it should help with some of the issues.

My question is this.....do I really need to continue to take the progesterone at this point? And if so, how much longer can I expect to take it? I've read that most women take it for the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy so the placenta can attach. Once that happens most women go off the pills unless they have history of pre term labors (which I do).

Do you think my levels are high enough to just go off them? If so, does my risk of miscarriage go way up then? What if I go off them, and notice spotting? Does that mean I'm too late to start taking them again to try to save the pregnancy? I'm so sick with this, and I know most women don't have issues with progesterone, but I do, and I have 4 kids and a needy husband to take care of, and they are lost without me.

Oh, and I do breastfeed my toddler twice a day, and it's totally killing me with pain!

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Old 01-08-2013, 06:41 PM   #2
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Re: help me make a decision about progesterone

If your prog levels drop you are at higher risk for a mc. Many of your "side effects" are also signs of a healthy pregnancy. I personally would not discontinue taking it because I know if something were to go wrong I would not be able to forgive myself, but I think you should know this advise comes from someone who has had a mc and has been trying for a baby for 28mo so I may be overly cautious. JMHO
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:51 PM   #3
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I noticed the same symptoms with my prometrium. Now I take it at night before bed and feel so much better.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:11 PM   #4
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Re: help me make a decision about progesterone

yeah, I take mine at night as well. I was feeling just fine until the morning after taking the pills. I was fine taking the cream, but it is more expensive and some say not as effective.

I too would feel very guilty if I lost it after discontinuing it. My husband is against me taking it because of the toll the pills have done on me. But, I do want to do everything possible to help make this baby viable, you know?

I was just wondering if anyone else took the pills vaginally?
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:29 PM   #5
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I take them for 12 weeks, and they make me feel like a complete zombie. But it is worth it not to lose another pregnancy. I took Prometrium with my first son, vaginally, twice daily. Took 200mg progesterone suppositories from a compounding pharmacy at night with the following three pregnancies. I did have a loss before this current baby and realized later the pharmacy had given me a lower dosage of progesterone. Kind of wonder if it is related. I think my progesterone was only checked with my 5th pregnancy (2nd son) and was low. Otherwise docs have prescribed it due to me charting a short luteal phase and having recurrent pregnancy loss.

I would ask your MW on the preterm labor issue, but generally if taking them for miscarriage you can stop at 12 weeks. Placenta should take over by then.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:31 PM   #6
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Do you know if the injections are possible? They could be super expensive. My insurance covered a lot of it so I paid $3 a shot. I've Never tried the pills vaginally but I'm sure someone else has. I hope they comment here for you!!
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:58 PM   #7
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I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the progesterone you take for preterm labor is different than the stuff you take for luteal phase defect/recurrent miscarriages.

My RE put me on progesterone at four weeks because my numbers were (and stayed) "low". When I transferred to a regular OB at 9 weeks he told me that unless you have a luteal phase defect or are an IVF patient that progesterone effectiveness is not supported by any evidence. He said if I wanted to take it he would let me, but he didnt believe I needed it. He also said that women will stop taking it for LP defect and IVF treatment between 9-12 weeks. I did a bit of research and while I think he is probably right I was terrified of another miscarriage and stayed on until 12 weeks.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:55 AM   #8
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Re: help me make a decision about progesterone

I had really low progesterone and was put on vaginal progesterone pills. Honestly the blah and sick feeling is identical to the pregnancies I had that I did not take progesterone supplementation. I used the progesterone until 11 weeks. My OB said it was safe to discontinue then because technically the placenta should kick in during the 9th week and the other weeks you use it are precautionary. I was a nervous wreck discontinuing. I would have stayed on it the whole time to ease my anxiety, lol. As it turned out I am now 17 weeks and so far all is well.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:21 AM   #9
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I should add that I am the ONLY person my OB ever had to take progesterone supplements (for low progesterone levels, not preterm labor) for 32 weeks :/. I have PCOS so that may have something to do with it but they tried to taper me off starting at 12 weeks and my body just never was taking over. At 32 weeks they stopped because it was FINALLY high enough. I was doing injections with that pregnancy. This time I'm seeing a mw at a birth center and they take everyone off at 12-14 weeks as well. They attempted to taper me off at 12 weeks and my levels are too low to go off again. I'm doing oral prometrium this time and I'm 18 weeks. I have a mw appt tomorrow and will probably be chatting about tapering off again. Again, my OB never had anyone go THAT long before and I haven't asked my midwife but generally they don't have people on past 14 weeks. So now, no matter what pregnancy when I go off of progesterone, I will always ask to be tapered and checked. Just ease of my mind with my past experience. I've had 2 losses and 1 successful full term pregnancy and I'm 18 weeks pregnant now. good luck mama.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:41 AM   #10
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Re: help me make a decision about progesterone

I took my vaginally but now I'm not sure the name of what I was taking (though I know it was a 250 mg dose progesterone. I'd be leery as well about stopping too early. My OB suggested till 12 weeks and even then tapering off for a few weeks to make sure there was no sudden drop. I took mine till 16 weeks and slowed down for 3 of those weeks.
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