Pregnancy and Progesterone
There’s a lot of talk about “pregnancy hormones'' and the various ways they impact your body. Of course hormones are critical to a healthy pregnancy and baby, but they also get a bad rap for the emotional and physical havoc they can wreck.
Today, let’s take a look at one of those important hormones that fluctuates during pregnancy: progesterone. What is it? What does it do? And what discomforts can it cause?
When the ovaries release an egg during ovulation each month, they also release the hormone progesterone—in case the egg is fertilized. If it isn’t, progesterone levels drop until ovulation occurs again the next month.
If the egg IS fertilized, then progesterone production keeps going. It helps grow the lining of the womb by increasing blood flow and wakes up the glands that provide nutrients for the embryo. As pregnancy progresses, progesterone continues to support the pregnancy by growing the placenta. Once that work is done, the placenta takes over progesterone production from the ovaries.
Elevated progesterone continues throughout the pregnancy as it supports all kinds of important things: development of the baby, growth of breast tissue, prevention of lactation until after the baby is born, and strengthening of the pelvic wall muscles.
While progesterone does so many essential things during pregnancy, the flip side is that it also might be one of the main culprits that causes heartburn, vomiting, reflux, gas, and constipation. Sorry.
But we think the trials and discomforts of pregnancy are well worth it! At Tennessee Family Doulas, we would love to walk with you through all the seasons of pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the early days at home. Reach out!