What to expect when you're expecting. Part 1 - Hormones

This is a new series of Pregnancy Blog Posts, week one covers hormone changes!

Pregnancy brings a variety of changes to the body and sometimes these can be unexpected changes. They can range from; swelling and fluid retention, to extreme ones such as vision changes.

Pregnant women experience increases in estrogen and progesterone. This will help the development of the baby, and also help with a “pregnancy glow”.

Estrogen and progesterone increases

Estrogen and progesterone are the main pregnancy hormones. During preganancy a woman will produce more estrogen than throughout her entire life when not pregnant.

The increase in estrogen during pregnancy enables the uterus and placenta to: form blood vessels, transfer nutrients and support the developing baby to grow.

Estrogen levels increase steadily during pregnancy, during the first three months these increases may cause morning sickness. During the second trimester, it plays a vital role in the milk duct development that enlarges the breasts.

Progesterone levels are higher during pregnancy. The changes in progesterone cause a loosening of ligaments and joints throughout the body and increases the size of the uterus.  

Pregnancy hormones and exercise

Estrogen and progesterone are vital for a successful pregnancy but they can make exercise more difficult. As your ligaments become loser you may be at greater risk for injuries like sprains and strains to the ankle or knee.

During pregnancy a woman’s posture changes, breasts become larger and the abdomen transforms to convex which increases the curvature of her back. The combined effect shifts the center of gravity forward and may affect balance.