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What Are PdG Tests How Do They Work?

PdG is the convenient acronym for pregnanediol-3a-glucuronide, but why would you want to test for it? If you’ve been trying to start a family, especially if you have so far been unsuccessful, a PdG test could prove a key factor in achieving pregnancy.

As a marker for the hormone progesterone that is now detectable in urine, elevated levels of PdG can determine when a pregnancy is most likely to occur. Here’s how it works.

PdG & Progesterone Levels

Knowing when progesterone levels are highest can help achieve conception. The body releases progesterone when ovulation occurs; this begins the most fertile time of the month, but there’s more to it than ovulation alone. An elevated progesterone level helps bring about a successful pregnancy by making it easier for an embryo to attach and stick to the uterine lining.

Progesterone levels become elevated when ovulation occurs; those levels can then stay elevated for between five and nine days. This time frame represents the most favorable window of opportunity for a successful pregnancy. In the past, however, the only way to measure progesterone levels was through a blood test.

Because it’s a marker for progesterone, measuring PdG levels indirectly determines the associated progesterone levels. Basically, PdG is what progesterone becomes after the body breaks it down into a simpler form. In this case, the kidneys break down progesterone into PdG before it leaves the body through urination. By checking for elevated PdG levels in urine through a test-strip method, it’s now possible to quickly determine the best time for a successful pregnancy in a simple at home fertility test.

Confirming Ovulation

One of the most important factors in achieving pregnancy is confirming that ovulation has occurred. If testing shows that ovulation is either not occurring during each monthly cycle or if it’s occurring irregularly, correcting the problem could require treatment.

In addition to at-home testing to determine reproductive hormone levels, some of the methods used to confirm ovulation include:

  • Endometrial Biopsies
  • Basal Body Temperature Charts
  • Transvaginal Ultrasound
  • Blood Serum Progesterone Testing

Compared to at-home methods, an endometrial biopsy reflects a somewhat more inconvenient way to confirm ovulation. In this procedure, a health care provider removes a small portion of tissue from the endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus. Rather than testing for the presence of hormones, a doctor or medical professional reviews the tissue sample under a microscope to determine if ovulation has taken place. The tissue examination also shows if the endometrium received enough hormonal stimulation to support implantation.

Implantation, which requires progesterone, refers to the critical moment when an embryo attaches to the lining of the uterus. An inadequate amount of progesterone could cause the uterine lining to lack enough “adhesiveness” for the embryo to implant. Based on the required factors of ovulation and progesterone, testing for elevated PdG levels can signal an opportune time for a successful pregnancy.

At-Home Testing Provides Convenience and Quick-To-Know Results

In 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a convenient at-home test procedure for PdG levels in urine. The approval makes it easier for couples starting a family to know when it’s the best time for conception. Determining when the implantation window occurs each month no longer requires a trip to a doctor’s office or waiting to get test results.

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