Pregnancy hormones can bring about changes in the body, organ function, and emotions of pregnant women. Even though some feel uncomfortable, these changes are important for maintaining the health of you and the fetus.
There are pregnancy hormones that just emerge during pregnancy, some are already there before pregnancy, although with different levels. Pregnancy hormones are divided into several types, namely the hormones hCG, hPL, estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, and prolactin.
Apart from emotional fluctuations and moods that fluctuate like a roller coaster, during pregnancy, you will also experience several other changes in your body. This condition is influenced by pregnancy hormones.
Starting from skin problems that suddenly appear, acne, hair loss, headaches, nausea, sensitivity to odors, and so on. Everything is caused by the surge in pregnancy hormones that are in your body.
These pregnancy hormones have an important role in supporting the health of pregnant women and the fetus. However, sometimes these hormonal changes can cause complaints during pregnancy, for example, fatigue and constipation.
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Types of Pregnancy Hormones and their functions
Here are some types of pregnancy hormones and hormones that change during pregnancy and their functions:
Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)
Yes! This hormone is the first to identify your pregnancy through a test pack. This hormone is the most important of all pregnancy hormones and is produced specifically by your placenta. Typically, your HCG levels will rise eight days after ovulation, peak at 60 to 90 days later, then drop slightly. During the first two weeks of your pregnancy, your HCG levels will double every two days, and this hormone is present in your urine and blood. That’s why identifying pregnancy, is necessary through urine and blood tests.
- Stimulates the production of progesterone and estrogen, two other important pregnancy hormones.
- HCG suppresses the immune system to support your developing baby. Basically, this hormone sends a ‘signal’ to the body about the presence of your baby, and helps the uterus prepare for the presence of the special guest’.
- This hormone is also responsible for telling your ovaries to stop releasing and ripening eggs each month.
- It is the increase in HCG levels that causes pregnant women to experience nausea in the morning and will subside when the levels decrease.
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Progesterone is a common female hormone produced by cysts on the ovaries known as the corpus luteum. However, around the 10th week of pregnancy, the placenta will take over the production of progesterone. This hormone is essential for building and maintaining a healthy pregnancy, and progesterone levels will increase dramatically in the first trimester.
Functions of progesterone:
- Even before becoming pregnant, this hormone stimulates the growth of your uterine lining in preparation for receiving a fertilized egg.
- This hormone promotes the growth of breast tissue in preparation for breastfeeding.
- Progesterone helps prepare you for labor in late pregnancy, by softening the ligaments and cartilage.
- This pregnancy hormone also suppresses your immune system, thus tolerating the foreign DNA of your developing baby.
- This hormone stimulates the glands in the endometrium to release nutrients so that your little embryo can grow properly.
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Similar to progesterone, estrogen is also a secret of the ovaries until the placenta takes over. This hormone continues to increase until the end of the first trimester, after which the levels will stabilize. Estrogen also has several very important roles in your pregnancy.
The function of estrogen:
- Estrogen helps your uterus grow.
- Regulates the production of other important hormones, including progesterone.
- Plays an important role in the development of your baby’s organs. Without it, your baby’s lungs, liver, and organs cannot grow.
- Help protect your pregnancy by preventing miscarriage.
Oxytocin Pregnancy Hormones
This pregnancy hormone is also known as the hormone of happiness and the hormone of love. This hormone triggers labor with initial contractions.
- These hormones increase the bond between you and your baby as soon as he is born.
- Stretch your cervix in preparation for birth.
- Oxytocin stimulates your nipples to produce milk.
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Human placental lactogen (hPL)
During pregnancy, the placenta begins to produce this hormone around the second week. The highest levels of hPL occur during the later stages of pregnancy.
- Help provide energy for your developing baby, to encourage his growth. It does this by regulating your metabolism, allowing your body to better break down fat, then converting it to energy or food.
- Makes your body less sensitive to insulin. Insulin is responsible for moving glucose from your bloodstream to cells. As a result, there is more sugar left in your blood to feed your developing baby.
- Stimulates the mammary glands in the breast in preparation for breastfeeding after the baby is born.
This is another important hormone that helps with milk production. During pregnancy, this hormone will increase 10-20 times the normal amount.
- Causes your breasts to grow bigger, and encourages the growth of your breast tissue.
- Preparing breasts for breastfeeding and expressing milk.
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Relaxin Pregnancy Hormones
Just as the name suggests, this hormone has an important role to make the body more relaxed during pregnancy. In women who are not pregnant, this hormone is present and produced by the ovaries. During pregnancy, the placenta and uterine lining increase the production of this hormone.
- Prepare the uterus and its lining for pregnancy.
- Relaxes the uterine wall to prevent contractions, which can hinder the implantation of a fertilized egg.
- Prevent premature contractions, help maintain pregnancy, and avoid miscarriage.
- Relaxes your blood vessels to help deal with the increase in blood volume that you produce during pregnancy.
- During labor and birth, this hormone will stimulate the softening of the cervix and also flex your pelvic ligaments for a smoother delivery.
It’s interesting Studying pregnancy hormones make your expectant mother more aware of how your pregnancy process is going. It turns out that our bodies have been created in such a way by God and have their respective functions.