Hormones are chemicals substances produced by certain body organs of the endocrine glands functioning to stimulate the works of certain body organs. Hormones are produced by cells found in hormonal glands that are spread in body parts. The gland is called the endocrine gland, it can produce hormones. Hormone production carried out in the endocrine glands is regulated by the hypothalamus positioned the brain.
Hormones are very important, there are several functions of the hormone. They are:
- Hormones can affect glucose, fat, and protein metabolism throughout the body.
- Controlling blood pressure.
- Controlling the developments in the reproductive system and sexual characteristics.
- Stimulating the process of forming red blood cells or erythrocytes.
- Controlling the release and formation of hormones carried out by the adrenal cortex.
- Stimulates the release and formation of the thyroid gland.
- Maintain homeostasis or balance the state of the body towards the surroundings.
Various pregnancy hormones can bring changes to the body to protect the fetus in the uterus. There are pregnancy hormones that arise only during pregnancy, but there are also hormones that already existed before it. But, entering the phase of pregnancy, the hormone levels change in the body during pregnancy. Not only physical changes, but various pregnancy hormones can also cause changes in emotions during pregnancy.
Here are some pregnancy hormones and hormone changes during pregnancy:
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Hormone (hCG) is a pregnancy hormone produced in the placenta. This hormone will help maintain pregnancy and fetal development. hCG levels can also be a sign of pregnancy as well as the health of the fetus inside. If the hCG level is low, there is a possibility of experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, infant mortality, or a younger expected gestational age. Conversely, very high levels of hCG can be a sign of multiple pregnancies, Down’s Syndrome, molar pregnancy or an older expected gestation. While the decrease in hCG levels is abnormal, it can be a sign of having a miscarriage.
- Human Placental Lactogen (HPL) is produced by the placenta after entering 6 weeks of gestation. This hormone, also known as human chorionic somatomammotropin, has a role in preparing nutrients needed by the fetus and stimulate the mammary glands in the breast until breastfeeding.
This hormone is found in a woman’s body before becoming pregnant. During the pregnancy, estrogen levels in a woman’s body will increase significantly. This increase in estrogen levels will cause nausea during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. While in the second trimester, estrogen plays a role in enlarging the milk ducts in the breast. Here are several functions and effects of the hormone estrogen during pregnancy including:
- Improves the blood flow system or blood vessel formation
- Helps provide nutrients needed by the fetus to develop
- Supports fetal development
- Causes changes in skin pigmentation, so that some women experience a face (glowing during pregnancy)
The appearing of fine hair on the breast or abdomen is one of the effects of changes in the levels of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy. The feeling of dizziness due to low blood pressure, heartburn, nausea, and constipation are also another impact of the increase in the hormone progesterone during pregnancy. However, progesterone is one of the pregnancy hormones that have important functions especially to:
- Keep the uterine muscles relaxed during pregnancy.
- Maintain the thickness of the uterine wall as the fetus develops.
- Maintain the immune system against the presence of the fetus in the body.
- Oxytocin and prolactin
Oxytocin hormone has a role in stimulating the flexibility of the cervix at the end of pregnancy. This is important for supporting the preparation of labor. This hormone also helps stimulate the nipple to produce milk. While the prolactin hormone will increase as much as 10 to 20 times during pregnancy. The increase of this hormone is beneficial in preparing breast tissue for breastfeeding by helping to produce abundant milk production.
- Hormones relaxin
Some changes causing discomfort are felt since the formation of the hormone estrogen and the hormone progesterone in the body. Some discomfort related to bones and joints can be overcome by the hormone relaxin. The relaxin hormone functions to soften the cartilage and loosen joints and ligaments.
- Adrenaline and pituitary hormones
Hormones produced by the body when faced with dangerous situations such as in stressful conditions. In a balanced amount, this hormone has an important role to maintain the function of various organs of the body. However, deficiencies and excess adrenaline can actually endanger health. The adrenal hormone, or sometimes called epinephrine, is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland and brain. The body releases this hormone when feeling stressed, depressed, scared, happy, or in a tense or dangerous situation.
While pituitary is also called the pituitary gland release the secretions that can regulate other glands. This gland is located at the base of the brain and consists of three lobes. They are front lobe (anterior), middle lobe, and rear lobes (posterior).
Pregnancy hormones play a role in maintaining the health of the womb and fetus, as well as various changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy. If changes in the body due to pregnancy hormones are felt uncomfortable or very disturbing, you should consult an obstetrician to find out the cause and get treatment.
Disorders during pregnancy due to hormonal changes
Here are some health problems that mothers can experience due to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.
- Striped and Blackened Skin
Increased levels of the hormone estrogen during pregnancy will produce black spots on the skin. During pregnancy, the body also produces Melanocyte Stimulating Hormones in a huge amount. this functions to trigger the formation of pigments, later causing the skin to be more black. As a result, pregnant women can experience pigmentation which results in the blackening of the skin in a number of areas of the body, such as in the neck, armpits, and face. However, in order not to get worse, the mother can avoid sun exposure directly to the skin. Use an umbrella or hat when outside the room. You can also apply a safe cream to disguise it.
- Pelvic pain
Increasing levels of relaxin hormones produced by the placenta can cause pelvic pain disorders in pregnant women. The hormone actually serves to help reduce the activity of the uterus and soften the cervix. This hormone also helps prepare the labor process and makes the entire joints of the body relax. Stretching the joints in the pelvic area can eventually cause pelvic pain. As a result, pregnant women often feel sore and potentially get the risk of injury when falling.
Here are several tips the mother can do the following to overcome the case.
- Do light exercise or special yoga to deal with aches and pains.
- Be more careful when walking or moving.
- If a muscle injury, ask the physiotherapist for help to deal with discomfort.
- Heart Burn
Increased levels of the progesterone hormone produced by the placenta cause the esophagus and stomach canal valves to relax. This situation allows stomach acid to flow back into the duct and cause a burning sensation or burning in the chest
- Decreased Sex Passion
Changes in the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause various uncomfortable feelings in pregnant women, such as mood swing, nausea, and sensitivity to smell. Combined all of these things will impact on the decrease in libido or desire to make love to pregnant women.
- Easy to forget
The hormone oxytocin produced by the body during pregnancy can create a forgetful effect on the mother. To overcome this, the mother can do the following:
- Record all the important things.
- Relaxation and yoga exercises to help improve concentration and memory.
- Increase the consumption of red meat and green vegetables that have enough iron to reduce the forgetfulness that occurs
- Mood swing
Changes in hormones that occur during pregnancy also affect the work of neurotransmitters or compounds carrying impulses in the brain. Further, it can affect the emotions and mood of pregnant women.