Have you discovered that you are pregnant? You have just embarked on a nine-month journey on the raging ocean of hormones. You will deal with morning sickness, tearfulness and irritability, but also with waves of new energy, euphoria and increased sex drive.
Throughout the pregnancy, various pleasant and unpleasant conditions and emotional swings will come and go. They are caused by hormones which your body produces massively during pregnancy.
Human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG is a hormone that your body will start producing at the very beginning of pregnancy. This hormone is produces by the syncytiotrophoblast, a portion of the placenta following implantation. The principle of pregnancy tests consists in detecting increased levels of this hormone in the body. This hormone stimulates the production of hormones estrogen and progesterone in the corpus luteum. The hCG hormone prevents menstruation and it is indispensable for the pregnancy to last. Its levels increase gradually during the first trimester. If the hCG level does not increase or even decreases in this period, it signalizes abnormal pregnancy course, e.g. ectopic pregnancy or aborting pregnancy. If the fetus is male, the hCG regulates testosterone production in his testes and therefore influences the development of genitalia in boys.
Estrogen's job is to provide the uterus with sufficient blood circulation, stimulate it to grow and stimulate the mammary glands to grow. Estrogen level increase up to a hundred times the normal level during pregnancy.
Its main function is to suppress the immune response of the body to the developing fetus, i.e. to prevent the body from considering fetal cells as unwanted and trying to get rid of them. After egg fertilization, progesterone suppresses the menstrual cycle and induces development of mammary glands. Progesterone also relaxes uterine muscles, thus preventing contractions potentially leading to abortion. Progesterone also plays a major role during the delivery.
This hormone is sometimes called the hormone of love. It influences how the mother establishes an attachment with her child and it induces the feeling of trust. Oxytocin induces labour as it causes the uterus to contract during and after labour by which it allows the uterus to shrink into its original shape. That is why applying synthetic oxytocin by injection to facilitate labour has become a common practice. Oxytocin also causes contractions in the smooth muscles in mammary glands and allows the milk to squirt out during breastfeeding.
They are called hormones of happiness. They induce good mood and feelings of joy. They help us deal with pain and stress and they get released during muscle strain. Production of endorphins increases before and during labour.
This hormone prepares the body for labour by relaxing the ligaments, thus increasing flexibility in lower back and pelvic joints.
Unpleasant Feelings During Pregnancy
Morning sickness and nausea are very frequent in pregnancy; they concern about 70% of pregnant women and they are considered pregnancy symptoms. Morning sickness is caused by steep increase of hormone levels, generally decelerated metabolism during pregnancy, mental influences and stress. Morning sickness is typical for the first trimester; they subside around the 12th week of pregnancy. If vomiting is long-term and very intensive, consult your physician to prevent serious disorders in the body and to exclude another disease. Vomiting usually does not influence fetal development.
How to Beat Morning Sickness
First and foremost, avoid having your stomach empty. Start eating early in the morning in small portions and regular intervals, chew your food well. Avoid hot, fat, sour and spicy foods. Sweet taste helps calm the stomach. Drink plenty of fluids, ginger tea is recommended. Ginger counteracts the sickness and it is allowed during pregnancy. You can also chew on a piece of ginger root with maple syrup. Make sure you have enough vitamin B6 in your diet. Acupressure and acupuncture may also help.
Tearfulness and Irritability
It may seem that every little thing can trigger you off to crying and you will often be surprised by sudden surges of emotions. These conditions are caused by estrogen. But you need not worry; all this is normal during pregnancy. However, be careful not to let your emotions control you. If you feel sad for a long time, consult a physician, just to be sure. Estrogen also causes pregnant women to be irritable, that is why you can have a chip on your shoulder and act unpleasantly towards people around you. Do your best to control and mitigate your irritability.
Pleasant Feelings During Pregnancy
However, estrogen does not only cause negative feelings; in combination with progesterone, it can also induce sudden surges of positive emotions. These are mainly feelings of inexplicable happiness and euphoria.
The energetic boost usually manifests in the second trimester when the hCG level drops a little. Metabolic complications subside and the expectant mother feels better and better. She feels she can handle much more than before and she oozes with fresh energy. It is good to use this period to get ready for the baby; make adjustments around the house, shop for baby stuf.
High hormone levels may make the pregnant woman incredibly sexy. Furthermore, hormones also increase her libido, sensitivity in her nipples and blood circulations in the pelvic cavity. That is why sexual life of the expectant parents may improve significantly during pregnancy.
Skin and Hair in Pregnancy
During pregnancy, skin may become more greasy which is also caused by higher hormone levels. Even acne may occur. These problems usually subside after the first trimester. During the problem period, only treat your skin with natural agents and oils. Some women also get pigment spots on their body. We recommend a cream against pigments spots.
Pregnant women usually get their hair boosted; hair becomes shinier and increases in volume. Progesterone prevents hair from falling. However, this usually changes after the birth, old hair starts falling out intensively to make room for new hair. This usually takes about half a year. So enjoy your incredibly shine mane while you can.