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Pregnancy: the dance of the hormones

16. June 2017, Margit Weichselbraun, Micronutrients

... and how this can make some minor complaints vanish completely!

Like the flap of a butterfly. Like this or similar are the descriptions of those women when they describe the touching moment when they first feel their baby in their womb. But it is not only the small human in her body that touches the becoming mother. Also, a wide range of hormones is responsible for the fact that in the course of the pregnancy everything is turned upside down.


Hormones manage the pregnancy

A pregnancy is one of nature’s greatest miracles. Those who ask google can guess how broad the spectrum of changes is that a pregnancy causes. Coxes of these physical but also emotional changes are second messengers – so called hormones. Their dance starts with the fertilisation of the egg cell. From a current point of view, the women hormone oestrogen, the pregnancy hormone HCG and progesterone (a gestagen) are among the most important hormones.

HCG: takes over the helm at the beginning

If you have ever waited impatiently for the result of a pregnancy hormone, you will maybe know what is behind the three letters HCG. The pregnancy hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) develops already like an explosion a few days after the fertilisation – in the tissue where later on, the placenta develops. HCG promotes the production of oestrogen and gestagen – that means of hormones that play a key role for an unobstructed pregnancy and the development of the child.

As important as HCG might be for a desired pregnancy, as much it is a pain for ¾ of pregnant women. Why? Because HCG is suspected to be one of the factors causing morning sickness during the first trimester. During the second trimester, the production of HCG in the organism decreases, which is caused by the hormone formation in the placenta. For many mums-to-be, feeling sick and unwell stops during this period of time. 

Progesterone: mood-lifter

Progesterone, the term might ring a bell at some from biology lessons in schools. This hormone develops after the ovulation from the remains of the cracked follicle. The egg wanders through the fallopian tube and is fertilised there, whereas the progesterone prepares the uterus so that it offers a nice little nest for the egg cell. If the fertilised egg nidates eventually, the progesterone keeps being produced until the placenta takes over the formation.

During pregnancy, progesterone is a kind of protective substance. It is responsible for the thickening of the mucosa and for the transport of nutrients in the cavity of the uterus.

It relaxes the muscles of the uterus, prevents premature contractions and has a mood-lifting and relaxing effect on both mother and child. Moreover, it increases the blood flow and prepares the breast glands for lactation. Furthermore, the mum-to-be also benefits from an other  positive side effect of the hormone: because progesterone lets hair and nails grow.

Oestrogen: makes you radiate

The term oestrogen comprises more than 30 sexual hormones that exert a great influence on being a woman. During a pregnancy, oestrogen plays an essential role. Its effect already starts before the fertilisation, by letting the egg cell ripe and by preparing the uterus for a possible pregnancy. If the fertilised germ really nidates, oestrogen formation rises. The hormone is also responsible for the growing of the uterus and increases the amount of blood. Together with progesterone, it prepares the breast glands for lactation.

Many mums-to-be benefit from oestrogen due to a special radiance effect: the oestrogen makes beautiful skin and the strong blood flow makes the skin fresh and rosy. At the same time, dull hair often gets a silky shimmer and thin hair more volume.

 

Migraine during pregnancy

A positive pregnancy test is for many women already a reason for a celebration. But there is more good news: because during pregnancy, the migraine attacks reduce by 50 – 80 % of those women suffering from migraine. Studies indicate that the change in hormones plays a role in this phenomenon. Mums-to-be that might suffer from migraine attacks all the same should – especially in the first and last third of the pregnancy totally abstain from pain killers, since they can have negative effects on the unborn child. Lying down in a dark room, cold pads and/or peppermint oil on the temples, the forehead and on the neck can soothe in the case of an acute migraine attack. In addition, diet habits should be reviewed and considered. Certain foods, such as cheese and chocolate are suspected to increase migraine attacks.  

Histamine intolerance during the pregnancy

But there is also good news for mums-to-be who normally suffer from histamine intolerance. Since pregnant women react very sensitively to histamine ( > which can lead to unwanted uterus contractions), the body produces about 300 to 500 times more of the histamine-degrading Diamine oxidase (DAO) than usually.  The positive side effect: during a pregnancy, women who normally have to stay away from histamine, can eat strawberries, pasteurised cheese, chocolate & co ad libitum. But they should not get used to this pleasant effect – because after the pregnancy, the DAO production decreases quite rapidly in most cases, so that the protection from histamine is gone.