The four most important pregnancy hormones are oestrogen, progesterone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and human placental lactogen (hPL). But let’s have a closer look at each of these guys individually, shall we?
Oestrogen is normally produced by the ovaries, but during pregnancy it’s also produced by the placenta. It’s responsible for stimulating ovulation, building up the uterus lining ready for implantation, and growing the breasts in preparation for breastfeeding.
Like oestrogen, progesterone is really important even when you’re not pregnant, but it probably plays the most important role of all the hormones during pregnancy. Progesterone maintains the lining of the uterus, reduces the chance of contractions in the uterus before a pregnancy is full term, and increases the blood supply to the uterus.
HCG is produced by the placenta and stimulates the production of progesterone. It’s job is basically to give progesterone a big leg up and to remind us all that life’s not always about being the loudest hormone is the blood stream.
And finally, HPL makes sure that the baby gets a steady supply of energy by increasing the amount of glucose circulating around a mother’s blood.
This dream team of hormones make sure that you and baby develop as you should throughout pregnancy. So even if they have got you craving salt and vinegar crisps for approx. 97% of the day, we should probably give them credit where credit’s due.