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Lutein is a colloquial term for a sex hormone that is essential for fertilization and the maintenance of pregnancy. What is the function of lutein? What consequences can its deficiency have for pregnant women? What are the symptoms of a lutein deficiency?

Luteinis a sex hormone produced by the corpus luteum in the ovary and the placenta during pregnancy. The adrenal cortex (it is produced in its banded and reticular layers) and the central nervous system are also responsible for its production.

In the first phase of the cycle, the concentration of lutein (another name for this hormone is progesterone) is very low. During this time, the level of estrogen rises - the hormone that prepares the lining of the womb and ovulation in the ovaries. The concentration of lutein begins to increase just before ovulation and reaches its peak on day 20-22 of the cycle. After conception has taken place, the production of the hormone continues. If fertilization has not occurred, lutein only works for a few days, then on day 27 its concentration decreases and menstruation begins. Therefore, the main tasks of lutein include, among others regulation of the menstrual cycle.

Why is lutein so important for pregnant women?

Luteinhas several very important functions during pregnancy:

  • prepares the uterine mucosa for implantation, i.e. implantation of a fertilized egg (thanks to it, the membrane is more supplied with blood and thicker than usual)
  • is responsible for maintaining pregnancy until the placenta is formed (for about 3 months)
  • inhibits uterine contractions and thus prevents miscarriage or premature birth

It is worth knowing that during the 9 months of pregnancy, the level of lutein increases almost 100 times. Only before delivery, its level drops slightly, which is a signal for the uterus for stronger contractions and the start of labor.

Lutein addition:

  • participates in the production of fetal metabolic hormones
  • is responsible for changes in the mammary glands that prepare them for milk production during lactation
  • stops the maturation of subsequent Graff follicles

Lutein is also associated with the regulation of body temperature in the body. Thanks to this, by taking the temperature every morning, you can find out if ovulation has already taken place.

Lutein deficiency in pregnancy: effects. When should you take lutein?

Lutein is responsible for maintaining pregnancy and its proper development. In the event of its deficiency, pregnancy cannot proceed properly and there is a risk of miscarriage. So if a woman develops spotting, abdominal pain or uterine cramps early in her pregnancy (up to 12-13 weeks), her doctor may advise the pregnant woman to take a special form of lutein, usually in the form of oral or sublingual tablets. This hormone is also used to prevent premature birth in advanced pregnancy. Then, lutein is mainly used in vaginal tablets and injections.

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When may a doctor recommend lutein during pregnancy?

  1. When a woman in early pregnancy complains of abdominal pain and uterine contractions and notices bleeding or spotting - signs that indicate she is at risk of miscarriage.
  2. If the pregnant woman has had a premature birth (or births), or if she had a miscarriage. Then lutein is administered prophylactically from about the 16th week of pregnancy.
  3. When a pregnant woman is diagnosed with cervical failure, which increases the risk of preterm labor. In this situation, lutein is usually given from the 23rd week of pregnancy.
  4. If in advanced pregnancy there is a risk of premature birth (e.g. with too early contractions).

IMPORTANT!Doctors recommend caution in taking lutein during pregnancy, especially if the pregnant woman has been diagnosed with liver or kidney problems. In such cases, the drug in the vaginal form can be used. As a result, the metabolism of this hormone does not take place in these two organs.

Caution is also recommended in the use of lutein in early pregnancy. Its excess may contribute to the development of minor defects in the child's urinary system.

Lutein deficiency - symptoms

Lutein deficiency can be diagnosed before pregnancy. Characteristic symptoms of too low concentration of this hormone are:

  • irregular periods (sometimes you may experience heavy bleeding)
  • intermenstrual spotting
  • problems getting pregnant
  • abnormal increase in body temperature

In turn, too high concentration of lutein can cause swelling, because this hormone causes water retention in the body, or promotes the formation of varicose veins (causes slower blood flow).


Smoking may lower lutein levels

Smoking during pregnancy can disrupt the proper functioning of the placenta. All through includeddangerous substances in cigarette smoke, incl. cadmium, which can significantly reduce the concentration of lutein. And its low level creates a risk of premature birth.

Lutein - when to do the test?

The lutein test should be performed on the 7th or 8th day after ovulation. This day can be identified by the temperature rise. Another method is to monitor the cycle using ultrasound, which will allow you to precisely determine the moment of ovulation.

It should be noted that the level of lutein is not stable throughout the day, because it is secreted in a pulsatile manner (ie its concentration in the blood changes throughout the day). Therefore, blood tests may give a false result.

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