Hormonal changes during pregnancy occurs due to chemical molecules produced into your bloodstream by particular glands to keep your body’s organs functioning properly. Hormonal changes during pregnancy levels throughout pregnancy assist your body in preparing for your baby’s growth, birth, and breastfeeding. However, these changes may make you feel particularly emotional, queasy, or fatigued.
Pregnancy Hormones: Main Types of Hormones and Its Side Effects
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
The fertilised embryo, and later the placenta, release one of the first hormones. Around 10 days after ovulation, and often after 5–6 days, hCG can be found. After 8-11 weeks, the level of hCG increases every 2-3 days until it reaches its maximum level. The purpose of hCG is to encourage your body to create the other hormones required for a successful pregnancy. It is the hormone used by pregnancy tests to establish whether or not you are pregnant because it is not produced naturally by the body until during pregnancy and may be detected in urine.
Progesterone is a key hormone throughout pregnancy, and large quantities are required during each trimester. It is created first by the ovaries and aids in the formation of the uterine lining, which accepts and feeds the fertilised egg. The placenta takes over the production of progesterone at about 10 weeks, allowing the pregnancy to continue. Progesterone stops milk production until after the baby is born and minimises the likelihood of the uterus contracting before labour. It also inhibits the immune system of the woman, preventing her body from reacting to the presence of the developing kid.
The ovaries generate oestrogen first, before the placenta and developing foetus take control. This pregnancy hormone is important for the growing baby’s proper growth and metabolism, as well as the development of the lungs, kidneys, and liver. It regulates other pregnancy hormones, keeps the placenta functioning, and prepares the breasts for milk production (together with progesterone). It also allows the womb’s muscles to respond to another hormone (oxytocin), which causes labour to begin.
Relaxin relaxes muscles, ligaments, and even the walls of arteries during pregnancy, as the name implies. It allows your arteries to carry more blood without boosting your blood pressure. It can even relax pelvic ligaments to help with delivery, and it can encourage the cervix to soften and dilate before birth, promoting membrane rupture.
Oxytocin is a hormone that plays an important function during labour and after delivery. During labour, oxytocin stimulates the uterine muscles to contract regularly, and after birth, the womb continues to contract to limit blood loss and aid in the expulsion of the placenta. The hormone also aids in the bonding of mother and child, earning it the moniker “love hormone.”
Prolactin is necessary for milk production and breastfeeding. The brain generates prolactin when your baby suckles, which encourages milk production.
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
The pituitary gland in the brain produces follicle stimulating hormone, which instructs the ovaries to produce eggs and oestrogen. FSH aids in the regulation of your monthly cycle. FSH is the first of a series of hormones that are required to start a pregnancy and is present even before you conceive. FSH causes eggs to develop in the ovaries, which leads to an increase in oestrogen production. Rising oestrogen levels cause the body to create more LH, which leads to ovulation and the possibility of pregnancy.
Cool fact: Women who have fraternal twins, notably those over 35, have greater levels of FSH, which is why they are more likely to have double buns in the oven.
Human placental lactogen (hPL)
Human placental lactogen is also known as human chorionic somatomammotropin, but the word “lact” says it all: it has something to do with milk production.
The placenta produces this hormone to help your body’s metabolism adjust to feeding your kid. It prepares your breasts for breastfeeding, along with placental development factors. This hormone aids in the production of colostrum, an antibody-rich pre-milk that comes before genuine breastfeeding. Insulin resistance and gestational diabetes are hypothesised to be caused by hPL and placental growth factors in some women.
Other pregnancy hormones:
Did you believe that was the last item on the list? In fact, during pregnancy, some other important hormones are in action, including the following:
- Calcitonin: Promotes the development of bones.
- Erythropoietin: Controls the formation of red blood cells.
- Insulin: Controls both the mother’s and the baby’s food metabolism.
- Vasopressin: Water retention is caused by high amounts of this hormone.
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone: A substance that induces the adrenal glands to release hormones that create stretch marks and oedema.
- Endorphins: Natural pleasant hormones in the brain can help you tolerate labour pain — and perhaps even forget about it once you meet your precious new baby.
- Thyroxine: Thyroid hormone that increases oxygen consumption in a pregnant mother, interacts with growth hormones to regulate and stimulate foetal growth, and aids in the development of the baby’s central nervous system.
- Cortisol: An adrenal hormone that assists in the growth of the foetal lung. Cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, can interfere with progesterone levels at high doses. Cortisol may also have a negative impact on the hippocampus, which is involved in learning and memory and could explain pregnant forgetfulness and brain fog.
The Impact of Hormones During Pregnancy on Your Body
Many of the common early pregnancy symptoms, such as headache, exhaustion, sleeplessness, morning sickness, and fluid retention, are exacerbated by the rapid rise in hCG levels.
Hormone Changes During Pregnancy and Their Emotional Effects
During pregnancy, fluctuations in oestrogen and progesterone levels can affect the mother’s emotional state, causing heightened emotions and mood swings. Mood and emotion might also be affected by other hormones during pregnancy. hCG and oxytocin, so these are some of the major hormonal changes during pregnancy for example, can promote irritability and restlessness.
Emotional changes are fairly frequent during pregnancy and are a normal aspect of most women’s lives. If you’re having trouble coping with concerning thoughts and feelings because you’re feeling particularly emotional, sad, or anxious, tell your midwife. She’ll be able to help you cope with them.
Hormones Levels During Pregnancy
Headaches, a congested nose (similar to a cold), and sensitive skin are all symptoms of high oestrogen levels. It can also make some parts of the skin darker. This is most common around the nipples and abdomen, although it can also develop on the face.
Indigestion, heartburn, constipation, and bloating are all symptoms of high progesterone levels. Progesterone can also induce hip aches and pains, make gums more likely to bleed, increase sweat production, produce greasy hair, and cause acne flare-ups.
These hormone-related symptoms are common throughout pregnancy and are usually not cause for concern. However, if you have any concerns about hormonal change during pregnancy , you should consult your midwife or doctor.