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Pregnancy Hormones – All you need to know

  • May 25, 2018
  • Pregakem
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pregnancy hormones

Hormones are a crucial aspect of fertility and a healthy reproductive system, especially when you’re trying to conceive. In fact, every little symptom you experience throughout your pregnancy is a direct or indirect result of the crazy disco your hormones are doing during this time. The raging hormones are also a key cause of the dramatic mood swings you experience during pregnancy. However, despite the uncomfortable symptoms, hormones play a very important role in ensuring your pregnancy is smooth sailing, and your baby’s development is perfect. 

Therefore, it’s important to know exactly what these pregnancy hormones are and what they do.

1. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
Once the egg meets the sperm, human chorionic gonadotropin steps in to take charge and speed up the production of Oestrogen and Progesterone. The most accurate pregnancy test kits confirm a pregnancy by marking the presence of the hormone hCG in the urine. The levels of this hormone double every 2 to 3 days during pregnancy.
The newly developing placenta releases this hormone days after the egg is fertilized. This later stimulates the production of two other important hormones ― oestrogen and progesterone. In case of twins, the hormone will increase in production to keep up with the growing babies. This hormone is responsible for the soreness in your breasts and your sensitive bladder, since it increases blood supply to your pelvic area, it is the reason behind the pregnancy symptoms of tender breasts and a sensitive bladder. There also are claims to it being the hormone that’s linked to nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. 

2. Oestrogen
The morning sickness, and crazy cravings that you have in the middle of the night during pregnancy? Blame it on oestrogen. This hormone helps your uterus grow and increases blood flow throughout your body. It also makes sure that the uterine lining is maintained to keep the growing baby safe and sound. Oestrogen is known to regulate the baby’s bone density and helps develop your baby’s organs. Oestrogen can cause spider veins (a cluster of veins growing pretty close to the skin) on the face and legs, causing your skin colour to change during pregnancy.

3. Progesterone
Progesterone works closely with oestrogen to suppress further ovulation during pregnancy. The hormone is known to soften your ligaments and cartilage to prepare you for labour. It also bumps up the growth of breast tissue and glands that produce milk to prepare you for breastfeeding. It has been seen that the increase in progesterone levels also may be responsible for tenderness in the breasts, fatigue and even mood swings.
Moreover, the hormone helps preventing your immune system from rejecting the embryo (as the embryo technically is a foreign body) and it maintains the lining of your uterus.

4. Oxytocin
Oxytocin is lovingly addressed as the love hormone, as it promotes feeling of intimacy, which make you feel closer to your partner. It also promotes the feeling of caution, which contributes greatly towards strengthening your maternal instincts. 
Once you’ve delivered the baby, every time you make contact even via breastfeeding, your body will release a flood of oxytocin. This will deepen your bond and connection with the baby.

5.  Other pregnancy hormones
Relaxin helps you prepare for labour by relaxing your bones, muscles and ligaments, and softening your cervix. It helps stretch your abdominal muscles while relaxing your arteries, which need to accommodate the surge in blood volume, while maintaining your blood pressure.
The placental growth factor is a hormone that promotes the growth of your blood vessels during pregnancy.
Human Placental Lactogen(HPL) is a protein hormone that helps prepare the mum for breastfeeding by stimulating breast tissue and the secretion of colostrum. It alsohelps decrease the expectant’s mum use of glucose, so that baby can use it for growth and development.
 Prolactin stimulates the production of breastmilk during and after pregnancy. It also inhibits ovulation due to which the nursing mum usually doesn’t get her period. However, over time prolactin levels drop and the mum begins to ovulate again.
Now that you know what the hormones are up to in your body, maybe it’ll make coping with the changes easier. After all, it’s only to prepare you for a safe and happy pregnancy. If you have any questions on pregnancy, how to use an ovulation calculator or even when to test for pregnancy, go ahead and leave you queries in the comments below.

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