The different pregnancy hormones explained


by Catriona Watson |

If you're currently expecting or you've been pregnant in the past, you'll know that hormones are responsible for all sorts of changes in your body. Hormones can affect you both mentally and physically but they are vital to your bodies and your baby's development.

Hormones can cause mood swings, make you feel sad or depressed as well as disrupting your digestion. However, hormones can also boost your energy and mood or even give you that envious pregnancy glow! They also play in a key role during labour at relieving pain and helping your baby make that important journey into the world!

Although hormones are an important part of pregnancy, because you can't see them sometimes they feel mysterious and difficult to understand. To feel better in tune with your body and understand those key processes that are going on behind the scenes, take a look with us all the miraculous hormones of pregnancy and their functions.

Pregnancy hormones:

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1) Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinising Hormone (LH)

These two hormones launch pregnancy and they are the first of many to cascade your body during this time. Both are present prior to conception and are at their most active during ovulation.

FSH stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles before the release of an egg and LH regulates oestrogen and works with FSH to control the menstrual cycle. LH also encourages the production of progesterone in the corpus luteum which is needed in pregnancy if fertilisation occurs. Both hormones remain inactive during the pregnancy.

This article was checked and verified by Dr Helena Watson on 29/07/19

Meet the expert: Dr Helena Watson is an obstetrics and gynaecology registrar in South London, working on the labour ward, at antenatal clinics and within gynaecology services.  She is also currently undertaking a PhD in Women’s Health Research at King’s College London, and is involved in projects such as Cotfinder and QUiPP.

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