Role of Hormones During Pregnancy
During pregnancy the woman's body suffers a lot of changes that are mostly caused by hormonal changes. Most men do not understand that pregnancy hormones are responsible for their wife's mood changes, constipation, extra sleep, or food desire. But these hormones are necessary as they help the baby grow and develop healthy during the nine months he spends in the mother's womb.
The main pregnancy hormones are estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is an ovarian hormone kept under control by the LH hormone (Leutenising Hormone). During pregnancy estrogen will be secreted by the placenta. The role of estrogen is to stimulate and regulate the production of progesterone during the nine months of pregnancy.
Estrogen is also responsible for liver, lung, kidneys and adrenal glands formation as it triggers their maturation. Also, placenta is operating with the help of estrogen too. And the role of estrogen does not stop here. Estrogen also interferes in the process of sexual characteristics development, it helps the process of lactation, it is involved in regulating the bone density of the baby, and it helps the blood flow easier from the mother to the baby, and protects female babies from the masculinising effect of the androgen hormone.The hormones released during breast feeding, oxytocin and prolactin, relieves the mother from the post pregnancy physical problems.
During pregnancy the external looks of the women are affected by pregnancy hormones. Estrogen is responsible for the so called 'glow of pregnancy', as it gives rashes or red blotches on the skin.
Progesterone is another pregnancy hormone that it is found in low quantities in the first part of the menstrual cycle. As well as estrogen this hormone is produced by the ovary too and the yellow body. Ten days after the ovulation the secretion of progesterone will stop and this will trigger the beginning of the menstruation.
If the egg released by one of the ovary is fertilized than the HCG hormone produced by the forming placenta will stimulate the yellow body to continue the production of estrogen and progesterone. This will stop the menstruation from occurring and the fertilized egg will be kept in the uterus. The ovaries will keep on producing these two pregnancy hormones until the placenta will not secrete HCG any more. This is a signal for the yellow body that progesterone and estrogen can be produced from now on by the placenta.
The role of progesterone is to maintain the functions of the placenta, to protect the fetus and womb from any damaging cells, to prevent sudden moves and contractions of the uterus, to help breast growing; it interferes within the process of lactation, meaning that it allows lactation begin only after delivery. When the moment for delivery has come the progesterone secretion will stop and so the uterus contractions will begin.
Constipation, headaches, blurred vision or heartburns are also caused by increased level of progesterone.
Other important pregnancy hormones are:
The HSC (Human chorionic somatomammotropin hormone) or HPL (Human placental lactogen hormone) is produced by the placenta and is kept under the estrogens control. It is important in the healthy development of the fetus and also in the development of the lactation breast glands.
Calcitonin is another pregnancy hormone useful in the calcium metabolism as it stops the calcium to get out from the bones and go into the blood system.
Oxytocin is secreted when the cervix is stretching or the nipples are stimulated. It helps the uterus contract and the baby delivery. It has also an important part in lactation as it stimulates the mammary glands in producing milk. Its effects are blocked by the progesterone and this situation will remain unchanged until the progesterone will not be secreted any more.