Role of Hormones during Pregnancy

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 18, 2011

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Pregnant womanDuring pregnancy, women undergo many physical and emotional changes. Pregnancy hormones play a significant role in most of these changes. They also contribute to some annoying pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and fatigue. Besides pregnancy symptoms, these hormones are also responsible for the healthy growth and development of the baby during the course of pregnancy.


Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

As soon as the egg and sperm get united and implant, a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is produced. hCG is mainly responsible for the early pregnancy symptoms ranging from missed period to nausea, vomiting and fatigue. hCG is secreted by the placental tissue, and it triggers the continued release of progesterone by the corpus luteum.



Progesterone is a major pregnancy hormone that is primarily produced by the placenta. This hormone maintains the functionality of placenta and prevents sudden movement and contraction of the uterus. As the pregnancy progresses, the hormonal level of progesterone also rises. Its increased level affects the muscles thus leading to a bloated feeling, heartburn and acid flux, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. Progesterone is also responsible for hip and pubic bone pain and breast tenderness. During pregnancy progesterone does not allow lactation. It only allows lactation only post delivery.



Estrogen is responsible for the ‘glow of pregnancy’. It is an ovarian hormone that is controlled by leutenising (hormone that triggers ovulation and develops in the corpus luteum). In pregnancy, estrogen is secreted by the placenta and mainly aims to stimulate the production of progesterone in the ninth month of pregnancy.

An important role of estrogen is to facilitate the maturation of lungs, kidneys, adrenal gland, liver and bone density of the unborn baby. Besides this it also aids the fow of blood to foetus. Estrogen also protects the female baby from the masculine effects of androgen. 


Other Hormones

  • Human chorionic somatomammotropin hormone (HCS) also known as Human placental lactogen (HPL) hormone plays an important role during pregnancy. It facilitates foetal development and formation of lactation glands. This hormone is produced by the placenta.
  • Oxytocin is produced when the cervix is stretched. It facilitates the delivery process by helping in the contraction of uterus. It also stimulates the mammary glands to produce milk.
  • Calcitonin is useful in calcium metabolism. It prevents the bone calcium form entering the blood system.
  • Prolactin and oxytocin are released during breastfeeding. They help the woman to get rid of post pregnancy problems.



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