Attack of the hormones

Monday, 10 March 2014

Pregnancy hormones

Not since puberty has there been such a wild, crazy cocktail of hormones rampaging through your body. Pregnancy hormones are guilty of all sorts of influence on the human emotions – from bloating and skin issues, to grumpiness and irritability. Sounds delightful, right? But all women experience different reactions. Some are mildly affected, while others are transformed into wild-eyed maniacs. The important thing is to recognise what’s happening to your body and your emotions, and help your partner and other loved ones to know too…

Follicle Stimulating Hormone
Right at the very beginning of the cycle, a hormone called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates your ovaries to hurry up and ripen the eggs and start making another hormone called oestrogen. Oestrogen is what gets the lining of the uterus to thicken and prepare for any fertile eggs that may come its way. At the same times, oestrogen triggers another hormone called luteinizing hormone, which causes the release of the egg.

The egg then makes its way down the fallopian tube on the hunt for an eager sperm. If none arrive then it heads down and out and you get your period. If however you do get pregnant then it’s game on…

Human Chorionic Gonadotriphn (hCG)
This hormone is created by the cells of your newly developing placenta and it starts to be manufactured within days of the fertilised egg implanting itself into the lining of the uterus. At this stage your body is also pumping out oestrogen and progesterone. The amount of hCG being produced increases over the first few months of pregnancy and is responsible for morning sickness. Or all day sickness, depending on which category you fall into. Experts say that morning sickness subsides along with the levels of hCG, which is at the beginning of the second trimester when the placenta starts producing its own oestrogen and progesterone.

This delightful hormone is also responsible for the constant need to pee. It also suppresses your immune system to reduce the chances of your body rejecting the baby. So although it comes with its fair share of inconveniences, it’s a vital hormone, whose main role is to protect and nurture your growing baby. So try to remember that as you sit with your head over the toilet bowl!

Here are a few others that play a vital role in your pregnancy journey

Human placental lactogen
HPL prepares your breasts for lactation, causing the release of colostrum in the first few days after baby is born.

Relaxin
Responsible for heartburn and indigestion, it also relaxes the joints and muscles, allowing the pelvis to stretch during delivery.

Oxytocin
This is the muscle-contracting hormone that kicks in as your baby prepares to make his grand entrance. It also helps your uterus contract back to its normal size and is triggered as you breastfeed.

Each hormone has a vital role in the incredible journey from conception to birth and although they come with their fair share of side effects, you wouldn’t be able to have a healthy baby without them. So here’s to hormones!

Other articles you may be interested in:
Are you considering a home birth?
Surviving morning sickness
Your unborn baby month by month
Tips for a stress-free birth
Pregnancy and pigmentation

Written by

Emily Pettit-Coetzee is a freelance writer and a blogger of lovely things. She spends her days writing about everything from corporate finance to teen fashion and has a weakness for vintage fashion and red lipstick.

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  1. thokozilemohohole

    Interesting and very informative. Through my pregnancy the my big problem was heartburn. It was painful and it would just changed my mood and sadly when you’re pregnant you can’t drink medicines or pain killers, but I wasn’t aware hormones have a vital role in the process from conception to birth. They come with their fair share of side effects, but to have a healthy baby one has to go through it all.

    3 years ago •

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