Everything I Need To Know About Pregnancy – Yes, pregnancy hormones are to blame for your unexpected mood swings, morning sickness, hot flashes, puffiness and swelling, and even breakouts on your previously flawless skin.
So, before you blame and curse all your weird symptoms on those damn hormones, find out how these chemical messengers boost your blooming body.
Everything I Need To Know About Pregnancy
The first sign of hormonal change you’ll notice will likely be in the form of the positive sign you see on your pregnancy test stick. Pregnancy test sticks confirm pregnancy by detecting the presence of the hormone hCG in the urine of an expectant mom. HCG levels in a woman’s blood generally double every two to three days in early pregnancy.
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HCG is created by your placental cells, which then stimulate the production of two other important hormones – estrogen and progesterone. Peaking at about 10 to 12 weeks, hCG levels then begin to decline in the second trimester, when the placenta takes over the production of estrogen and progesterone.
While typical hCG levels can vary, lower or stagnant levels tend to indicate a tendency to miscarry, or may indicate an ectopic pregnancy. However, don’t worry too much about your hCG numbers – some perfectly healthy and successful pregnancies have quite low levels of hCG.
HCG levels can be blamed for some early pregnancy symptoms, such as tender breasts and a sensitive bladder (as it is responsible for increasing the blood supply to your pelvic area). Some believe that it is linked to the nausea and vomiting of expectant mothers in the first trimester.
Pregnancy test sticks confirm pregnancy by detecting the presence of the hormone hCG in the urine of an expectant mom. 2. Estrogen
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Estrogen (along with progesterone) plays a crucial role in your baby’s development during pregnancy. Both of these hormones are produced by the corpus luteum, a cyst on the ovary, until around the tenth week, when the placenta takes over.
Estrogen helps your uterus grow, increases blood flow around your body, and maintains your uterine lining, which keeps baby safe. It also helps your baby’s small organs develop, and regulates your baby’s bone density. This hormone is also responsible for your midnight cravings, as well as morning sickness.
Conversely, estrogen can have negative effects on the mom-to-be’s skin – your skin color can change, and it can cause spider veins (clusters of tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin) in the face and legs. However, if you’re lucky, you can get what people commonly call the “pregnancy glow.”
Along with estrogen, progesterone is an essential hormone that supports your pregnancy. Both work together to suppress further ovulation during pregnancy.
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Progesterone performs a number of key functions during pregnancy – in addition to helping prevent your immune system from rejecting the embryo (it’s technically a foreign body), it maintains the lining of your uterus.
Progesterone helps your baby develop, and also softens your ligaments and cartilage to prepare you for labor. It also boosts the growth of breast tissue and milk-producing glands to prepare you for breastfeeding. If your progesterone levels are too low, your gyno may encourage you to take progesterone supplements to support your pregnancy.
The increase in the expectant mother’s progesterone level can cause her breast tenderness, mood swings, and also the fatigue that many of these women feel.
The “love hormone,” as it is commonly known, begins to rise in early pregnancy, and continues to increase through labor and the birth of your baby. It is beneficial because it promotes intimacy, so you may find yourself closer to your husband or even the rest of your family, especially in the last trimester. Oxytocin also promotes vigilance, which is definitely useful when you’re raising a baby, as you’ll ensure that you and your little one won’t be harmed.
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As you give birth, oxytocin stimulates your uterus to contract. The contractions trigger even more oxytocin to be released, so the contractions will increase in frequency and intensity. Produced oxytocin is sometimes used to stimulate labor, or further increase the intensity of the contractions.
Once bubba is safe in your arms, you will be encouraged to make skin-to-skin contact, which will release a flood of oxytocin. This promotes that feeling of connection and connection to your baby, making you like him.
When you breastfeed, oxytocin promotes the let-down effect where the mammary glands contract, pushing milk into the ducts.
As you give birth, oxytocin stimulates your uterus to contract. The contractions trigger even more oxytocin to be released. 5. Relaxin
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You know that seemingly impossible task of squeezing a full-term baby through your pelvis? This is made possible thanks to the hormone relaxin, the chemical that helps you prepare for labor by relaxing your bones, muscles and ligaments, and softening your cervix. Relaxin also allows your abdominal muscles to stretch for your baby, and also relaxes your arteries, which have to accommodate the increase in blood volume, maintaining your blood pressure.
However, this is also the hormone that can cause pain such as back pain because it also relaxes your spinal ligaments. It can also produce pelvic girdle pain, causing you to feel wobbly and unstable, so watch your posture during this time.
Placental growth factor is a hormone that promotes the growth of your blood vessels during pregnancy. Low levels of placental growth factor can cause high blood pressure and preeclampsia in pregnancy.
HPL, or Human Placental Lactogen, is a protein hormone that is made by the placenta. It usually begins to form around the sixth week, until the end of the pregnancy. HPL helps reduce the expected use of glucose, so a baby can use it for growth and development.
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HPL also helps prepare mom for breastfeeding by stimulating breast tissue and the secretion of colostrum during the early days of your baby’s life.
Produced in the pituitary gland, levels of prolactin increase 10 to 20 times during pregnancy. This hormone stimulates the production of breast milk during and after pregnancy. Since it also prevents ovulation during the first months of breastfeeding, the nursing mom usually does not get her period during this time. Over time, prolactin levels drop and the mom can start ovulating again. If you are a woman dealing with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, often referred to as PCOS, then this blog is a must read to understand the symptoms, diagnosis, complications in pregnancy and helpful precautions.
It is a fairly common hormonal disorder in women where the ovaries produce higher than normal levels of androgens, a male hormone that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle causing complications during pregnancy and even affecting the physical appearance.
PCOS And Pregnancy PCOS often causes complications in pregnancy and can even lead to infertility in women because the excess male hormones in the body prevent ovulation, that is, it prevents the release of an egg.
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Furthermore, women with PCOS have a higher chance of experiencing a cesarean delivery instead of a normal delivery because the baby could be larger than expected.
If you are facing one or more of these symptoms, then consider seeing a doctor and getting tested for PCOS.
Diagnosed during the early stages of pregnancy will help the medical team to control the symptoms and it would result in the well-being of you and your baby.
The diagnosis of PCOS is quite simple, however it may take time to arrive because the symptoms often mimic other problems as well. However, when you talk to your doctor and if he or she feels that you might be suffering from PCOS, then they would write you a blood test to check male hormones. An ultrasound might also be done to see cysts in the ovaries.
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If you are suffering from PCOS, then the following precautions will surely help in making your daily life easier –
PCOS increases your chances of fertility, however, exercising regularly and controlling your body weight can also increase your chances of conceiving. Even a 5% loss of body weight has been shown to increase the chances of getting pregnant.
Irregular periods caused by PCOS make women spotting conscious, you can forget all spotting worries by choosing to wear leak proof panties as you approach your period. The soft, breathable material along with an extra layer to prevent staining are just the kind of period panties you need.
Research has shown that drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated can significantly help with PCOS.
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Eat healthy foods and try to include raw vegetables and fruits in your daily diet as much as possible. Research shows that dietary changes help women with PCOS.
One way to feel better is by eating delicious and healthy foods and playing and getting plenty of exercise. It’s also good to find fun ways to relax, like doing peaceful yoga or deep breathing. Some special teas like mint tea, delicious spices like cinnamon or special seeds like fenugreek might also help, but always ask a doctor first. It’s also important to stay at a good weight and get plenty of rest.
It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible and be honest about your symptoms. Providing