This article was originally written by: Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test — the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home (12/22/20)
Are you trying to conceive? If you are, understanding progesterone and PdG can help increase your chances of successfully conceiving. In fact, they may be critical pieces of your pregnancy puzzle. Keep reading to learn more!
What does progesterone do?
Progesterone is a reproductive hormone produced during the second half of your cycle. After ovulation occurs, the empty follicle (also known as the corpus luteum) releases progesterone to prepare the uterine lining for implantation. It makes the lining “sticky” so that if conception occurs, an embryo can implant.
If an egg is fertilised and implants into the uterus, your body will continue producing progesterone throughout pregnancy, which is why it’s typically called the “pregnancy hormone.” Studies have shown that adequate progesterone levels during pregnancy are necessary as they prevent the uterus from contracting pre-term. Once the placenta is formed, it takes over progesterone production from the corpus luteum.
What is PdG?
Pregnanediol glucuronide, or PdG as it is more commonly known, is a urine metabolite of progesterone. After progesterone circulates through the bloodstream, the kidneys metabolise it and expel it from the body in urine. PdG levels in urine compare well to progesterone blood levels.
Why should I care about PdG?
Testing PdG levels may even be a better way to measure progesterone levels to confirm ovulation. This is because progesterone is released into the bloodstream in pulses, which means levels can change during the day. So if you were to test progesterone via a cycle day 21 blood test, you could get very different results if you were to test at 8 am versus 3 pm.
PdG, on the other hand, has been shown to more accurately represent the average of progesterone levels from the day before when testing in urine after at least a 6-hour hold. As well as this, PdG testing is non-invasive, so it’s easy to track levels over several days — this is important when confirming “successful” ovulation.
What is successful ovulation?
Ovulation is considered successful when an egg is released and post-ovulatory PdG levels remain elevated for long enough to allow for the best possible chance at conception. When PdG levels are too low it can be more difficult to conceive.
Proov is the first and only FDA cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation at home. To confirm successful ovulation, we recommend testing with Proov PdG tests on days 7, 8, 9, and 10 after peak fertility. We like to see four positive tests during this window to say that ovulation was successful.
If all four of your Proov PdG tests are positive during the testing window, congrats! You’ve confirmed successful ovulation and ovulatory disorders likely aren’t preventing you from conceiving. However if 1-3 of you Proov tests are negative, we recommend looking into ways to increase PdG levels. If you never get a positive Proov test, we recommend consulting your doctor.
Proov is the first and only FDA-cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation at home.
How can I increase PdG levels?
If just some of your Proov tests are negative, there’s no need to worry — there are plenty of ways to increase PdG production! These are some of our favorites.
Keep in mind that there are no foods that directly contain PdG. However, certain foods can trigger your body to produce more PdG. These foods include broccoli, brussel sprouts, pumpkin, spinach, kale, nuts, and beans. You should also try to avoid foods and drinks with a high sugar content, excessive gluten, soy products, and foods cooked with turmeric, thyme, oregano, sage, and bloodroot because they may inhibit PdG production.
While foods don’t directly contain PdG, some foods have been shown to boost PdG production.
The National University of Natural Medicine notes that practicing seed cycling boosts hormonal health by helping your body maintain regular hormone production and dispose of excessive hormones. As the name implies, seed cycling involves eating specific seeds at specific stages of your menstrual cycle. On the first day of your period, start eating up to two tablespoons of fresh ground flax seeds and raw pumpkin seeds each day. On the day of ovulation, switch to eating one to two tablespoons each of raw sunflower and sesame seeds. Once your period starts again, you’ll return to eating flax and pumpkin seeds.
Some herbal supplements such as vitex (chasteberry), maca, and red raspberry leaf have been shown to boost PdG production. If you have questions about herbal supplements we recommend consulting your doctor.
If all else fails, we recommend talking to your doctor about prescription-strength progesterone medication. While medications can be effective, it’s important to consult your doctor to make sure you get the right medication and understand when to take it.
PdG plays an important role in every single successful pregnancy. With Proov PdG testing, you can easily track your PdG levels to ensure you’re successfully ovulating every single month.
This post has been republished with permission and minor edits from Proov.