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Hormones and Pregnancy

Hormones and pregnancy

It is well known that during pregnancy the body experiences quite a lot of changes, many of which are caused by hormones. How these parameters can change?

First of all, the level of progesterone increases – this hormone prepares the uterus for pregnancy, and helps keep the embryos implanted. Progesterone is produced by the structure, which is formed after bursting of the follicle during ovulation (“pouch”, in which egg matured). Progesterone support in the central nervous system a kind of “setting for pregnancy”, stimulates the development of mammary glands, and also suppresses the immune system, preventing the rejection of the ovum.

Child bearing would be impossible without this wonderful hormone. However, progesterone promotes salt and fluid retention in the body; a depressing effect on the psyche (increases irritability, mood deterioration); can sometimes cause headaches.

Levels of estrogen increase during pregnancy. Their co-produce the adrenal glands of the fetus (here precursor of estrogen synthesized) and the placenta (it actually forms estrogen from precursors). Estrogens stimulate the growth of the uterus, are taking part in the birth act, facilitates the removal of excess fluid from the body (acting as a natural diuretic), relax blood vessels, contributing to the normalization of elevated blood pressure.

From 10 weeks of pregnancy, the placenta begins to produce hormones more actively. Among the many placental hormones we will note chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and somatomammotrophin.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – a hormone structurally similar to thyroid-stimulating hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the thyroid gland. Under his influence the concentration of thyroid hormones increases. Increased secretion of thyroid hormones entails, among other things, accelerate of the metabolism, thereby updating of all cells, including improvement of the skin and hair.
Chorionic somatomammotrophin – stimulates the growth of breasts. It is because of this hormone (and progesterone) mammary gland increases in size; the breast becomes more “curvy” shape. However, the effects of this hormone can «together» lead to an increase, for example, the length of the foot (up to the shoe size changes).
Growth factors – specific substances produced by the placenta, which stimulate the renewal of the body’s own tissues (for example: connective tissue, epithelium, nipples). Due to growth factors skin and connective tissue of the breast and abdomen, “fully armed” to meet the need for stretching.

Ultrasound during pregnancy

Adrenal hormones – mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids. Their output (secretion) is stimulated by the pituitary hormone called “adrenocorticotropic hormone” (ACTH). Raising the level of ACTH (and after him, and adrenal hormones) – is the body’s response to any stress, which pregnancy is for the body. ACTH itself enhances skin pigmentation. Mineralocorticoid regulate water-salt metabolism, delaying the salt and fluid in the body. Among the effects produced by them, is called immunosuppression (which prevents rejection of the fetus), hyperpigmentation of the skin, hair thinning, stretch marks (due to thinning of the skin), increased growth of body hair.
Listed above list of hormones and the effect produced by them can’t be called complete. However, on the basis of these data it is clear that the hormone concentration in the blood increases during pregnancy. In the end, their impact on the appearance and health of the woman can be compared to painting, consisting of many shades and tones. The degree of severity of “positive” and “negative” effects depends on heredity and the state of women’s health at the time of conception, and of the peculiarities of a particular pregnancy.

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