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Hormone balance is essential for maintaining a normal pregnancy. Early on, elevated progesterone levels are needed to maintain pregnancy and progesterone is produced in excess by the corpus luteum. In the normal menstrual cycle the corpus luteum involutes, but this process is impeded during pregnancy because of the presence of which hormone?
Human chorionic gonadotropin
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In normal human pregnancy, human chorionic gonadotropin (hcg) is produced early in pregnancy to maintain the corpus luteum.
Hcg levels rise rapidly during early pregnancy, and hcg is the hormone detected during a routine pregnancy test. It is originally produced after fertilization by the cells that eventually become the placenta. hcg plays a pivotal role in maintaining the corpus luteum in early pregnancy. This enhances progesterone secretion, which in turn alters the physiology of the uterus enhancing vascular in growth so that the growth of the fetus can be sustained.
Tenore discusses the management of ectopic pregnancy in the family practice setting. The use of a hcg level is essential for the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy as well as for post-treatment monitoring.
Banerjee and Fazleabas review the extra gonadal actions of hcg. These can include changes in gene expression of the uterus and down regulation of immune environment during pregnancy. Recurrent pregnancy loss can be attributed to altered responses to hcg levels.
Answer 1: Cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland and is elevated during pregnancy, but does not maintain the corpus luteum.
Answer 3: Estrogen is produced by the granulosa and thecal cells and by peripheral conversion of testosterone.
Answer 4: Progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum, but is not the hormone that maintains the physiologic structure.
Answer 5: Inhibin down regulates FSH secretion during pregnancy.
Am Fam Physician. 2000 Feb 15;61(4):1080-8. PMID: 10706160 (Link to Abstract)
Banerjee P, Fazleabas AT.
Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2011 Dec;12(4):323-32. PMID: 21845366 (Link to Abstract)
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