Pregnancy can bring about several physical and emotional changes to your body. Many of these changes are the result of fluctuations in your hormone levels. Several hormones are implicated in pregnancy, each serving a different role and causing various symptoms to manifest in your body. This article will discuss some of these hormones, how they change during and after pregnancy, and the body changes you may see due to such fluctuations.What hormones are involved in pregnancy?
Several hormones are involved in pregnancy. These include:
- Estrogen. Estrogen is essential to the body even before pregnancy, as it is involved in developing a woman’s sexual characteristics. During pregnancy, the placenta produces estrogen to help sustain a healthy pregnancy.
- Progesterone. Your ovaries and placenta produce this hormone throughout pregnancy. It plays a role in thickening the uterine lining, allowing the fertilized egg to implant.
- Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG). The placenta produces hCG only during pregnancy.
- Human placental lactogen (hPL). The placenta produces hPL, and it serves a role in providing nutrition to the fetus (1).
How does the body change?
These different hormones can induce physical changes in the body. For example, hCG levels are what sometimes cause nausea and vomiting commonly experienced during pregnancy. HPL, on the other hand, is involved in nutrition. Therefore, it activates the breast’s milk glands so that they are ready to breastfeed your baby (1).
Estrogen promotes blood flow within the body. This can cause several physical changes in the body, including tender or achy breasts, stuffy noses, or an increased urgency or frequency of urinating. This increased blood flow can also benefit the skin, causing what many refer to as the pregnancy “glow” (2).Emotional changes
In terms of emotional changes, progesterone is what often causes irritability during your menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, progesterone levels are increased, sometimes causing mood swings (2).What should be done to replenish the body?
After pregnancy, your hormones will begin to normalize, but your body will likely be different than it was before pregnancy. It is important to continue nourishing your body as you did when pregnant, keeping it healthy as you start your new life with your baby.
You may want to continue taking your prenatal vitamins, especially if you are still breastfeeding. This will ensure that you support your body while breastfeeding and supplement the nutrients you may have lost while pregnant. Physicians will sometimes recommend women take additional supplements, such as vitamin C and iron (3).
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- Hormones during pregnancy. (2019, November 19). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/staying-healthy-during-pregnancy/hormones-during-pregnancy
- How your body changes during pregnancy: Hormones, breasts & more. (2017, August 29). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/bodily-changes-during
- What really helps you bounce back after pregnancy. (2021, November 10). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/what-really-helps-you-bounce-back-after-pregnancy