Body Changes during Pregnancy: Hormones

From emotions that change on the drop of a hat to a whole range of stomach troubles, pregnancy can take you for quite a ride! Here, we explain what’s changes are going on due to hormones.

Pregnancy brings about several body changes – many of the changes you’re going through are visible—breasts and belly are the most obvious. Some are completely invisible to the eye but happening internally. Then there are those, like a powerful urge to “nest,” you can’t see but can certainly feel. A lot of these changes are due to hormones, powerful chemicals that affect your mind, your body and your pregnancy. Here’s a guide to some of the most important players at different stages of pregnancy.Pregnancy hormones : mood-swings during early pregnancy

1. Conception and early pregnancy
2. Emotions during pregnancy
3. Pelvic floor
4. Later stage of pregnancy and child-birth

Hormones (during pregnancy) are there to help regulate the many changes taking place to enable your baby to be born safely. Understanding what the hormones are doing may help you understand the changes in your body, and help decide what’s normal and what may not be. Some of the most significant hormones in pregnancy are:

  • hcg
  • oestrogen
  • progesterone
  • oxytocin
  • endorphins
  • prolactin

1. Conception and Early pregnancy

The female hormones, including oestrogen and progesterone help release an egg from your ovary and implant it in the lining of your uterus. That’s during early pregnancy. Both these hormones will be in higher quantity to help increase the blood supply required especially for the uterus and breasts.

HCG is the key hormone that’s present during pregnancy. It’s produced by what ultimately becomes the placenta. Its basic job is to tell a woman’s body that there is a life form growing in her womb and that her body needs to build a nest for it. HCG also tells the ovaries to shut off the production line of maturing an egg every month.

Progesterone along with Relaxin, also enable the muscles of the uterus to relax to make room for the growing baby. The change may affect other muscles in the body, which can sometimes make your joints and your back ache and affect your pelvic floor. The relaxed muscles and tissues in your digestive system may also contribute to experiences such as heartburn, nausea, and constipation.


2. Emotions during pregnancy

It is most normal to have a topsy-turvy time with how you feel during pregnancy. Mood swings or feeling of emotions are out of control are most common during pregnancy. Often these symptoms ease after the first three months of being pregnant.

Progestrone also creates a tranquilizing effect to protect against stress, one of the reasons pregnant women can handle so much heavy thinking and anxiety. In this way, it also promotes sleep. On the downside, progesterone has been linked to acne breakouts.

Oxytocin, the feel-good hormone helps you bond with others. In the weeks immediately before delivery, many women experience mild euphoria and strong nesting behavior (inexplicably hoarding things, stressing and worrying about baby care things, cooking, cleaning etc), and this may be linked to oxytocin as well.


3. Pelvic floor

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The pelvic girdle is the system of bones that surround and protect your uterus and other organs in this area. Its base, the pelvic floor, is a network of muscles and ligaments which support the organs, including the expanding uterus with the baby inside. The softening of the tissue caused by the relaxin hormone means these ligaments are more elastic to help when the baby is born. Excess of Relaxin may make you feel that your ligaments are ‘looser,’ including your shoulders, knees, hips, and ankles, which can result in aches, pain, inflammation, and even sacro-iliac pain. So the muscles need to be kept strong with pelvic floor exercises.


4. Later stage of pregnancy and child-birth

During later sPregnancy Hormones to boost breastmilktage of pregnancy, Relaxin hormone loosens things up a bit down below to ease the baby’s passage through the birth canal.

During delivery, huge bursts of oxytocin run through the brain. After delivery, when a woman holds her newborn, she develops what’s called “baby lust,” a chemical reaction that happens when a baby’s pheromones stimulate the production of additional oxytocin—thus augmenting the mother-baby bond. .

Meanwhile secretion of Estrogen hormone peaks right before birth to declines afterward. It prepares your breasts for milk production by enlarging the milk ducts.

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