Swing from joy to sorrow? A hormone revolution may make you extremely sensitive, but there’s nothing you can’t plan for.
Hormones play a fundamental role in making sure your pregnancy goes according to plan.
1. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG). This is the pregnancy hormone. It’s initially produced by the developing embryo and then by the placenta. And it’s present in the mother’s urine and blood, which is why it’s what pregnancy tests rely on. This hormone stimulates the production of progesterone and oestrogens. Which is why you feel nausea and experience vomiting. And it’s also why you don’t have to worry about periods for a while.
2. Progesterone. This is produced naturally by our body, and increases after conception. It helps prepare your uterus to receive the fertilized egg. It makes your breasts bigger and helps milk production, together with oestrogen and prolactin. You’ve got a bigger chest now haven’t you? Better get used to it. Along with digestive trouble and fatigue.
3. Oestrogen. Oestrogen is the main female hormone. Oestrogen levels increase, stimulating uterus growth during pregnancy. Oestrogens also help our body produce milk. Your skin will be drier and you will need to moisturise frequently, but your hair will probably be stronger and fall out less.
4. Prolactin. Is produced by the placenta and gets your body ready for breast-feeding. When the baby first suckles after birth, your levels of this hormone increase. Which helps launch milk production. It peaks at birth.
5. Oxytocin. The love hormone is always present during pregnancy. Naturally! At the end of the process, oxytocin helps stimulate contractions and prepares your body for birth. It will awaken your maternal instinct...
But other than the health bit... What else can happen, emotionally speaking?
1. Moods swing from laughter to crying, and back again. Yes, that’s your dancing hormones. They can make you cry when everything is fine and you catch sight of an Instagram photo or video of puppies or babies. And it can make you euphoric when your partner cooks chips for dinner. Enjoy feeling great and ignore any sudden lows.
2. You may feel a little scatty. It’s totally normal to forget your car keys, or that thing you needed to buy, or what you were looking for in baby’s bedroom. “Why did I come in here again?” Pregnancy makes you forgetful. Don’t worry about it.
3. You might feel scared or anxious. It is the best thing that could happen to you, but you may feel insecure and frightened of giving birth. You may even wonder if you will know how to be a good mother, or if you will be able to carry out such great responsibilities. Don’t worry about it! It will all flow in good time. Remember that you are your baby’s perfect mother.
4. You may feel happy. Because being a mother is an extraordinary experience and you’re longing to see your little one’s face. So it’s normal to feel like your floating happily in the clouds. When you get to meet... It will be love at first sight.
Be patient and reasonable. Use humour as often as you can, it will be a great ally when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Normal pregnancies involve discomforts that you’ll soon get used to. It’s fundamental to get good medical follow-up throughout the process and to tell your doctor if you have any questions or concerns... mention anything! Your welfare and the baby’s health are paramount.