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Posts Tagged ‘oestrogen’

As you (and others around you) may notice, there are a number of natural hormonal changes happening throughout your pregnancy.  Your moods may swing from one end of the spectrum to the other, and then you might be like nothing has happened!    Understanding why these hormones play havoc with us will help you cope with the emotional and physical changes that are happening.

Though each person will have a different story, the effects of the hormones are the same:

  • Missed periods
  • Nausea, possible vomiting
  • Breast tenderness
  • Tiredness
  • Moods swings
  • Urge to go to the loo more

The main three hormones which affect our bodies during pregnancy are:

Oestrogen

  • Uterine growth during pregnancy – up to 1000 times in volume – 5 litres.
  • Weight increases from approx 45 grams to 480 grams.
  • Normal weight gain in pregnancy is influenced by Oestrogen, and also affects how the fat is distributed.
  • Possible pre-cursor for another hormones, Relaxin

Progesterone

  • Helps relax smooth muscle tissue, including the gastrointestinal tract (hence heart-burn)
  • Increases sensitivity to carbon dioxide causing you to feel out of breath more easily
  • Respiration increases as your body works harder to get rid of the carbon dioxide.

Relaxin

  • Produced very early on in pregnancy (within the first couple of weeks), until the five to six weeks post delivery (and possibly remain whilst you are breast feeding).
  • Its main role is in relaxing ligaments and fibrous tissue; preparing the body for the carrying and delivery of the baby.
  • Relaxes ligaments around the pelvis, (allowing the joints to move to aid with childbirth).
  • It also relaxes other ligaments in the body, again making joints more elastic.
  • Relaxin works by increasing the amount of water in the collagen which makes up ligaments and tendons, allowing them to become more elastic.

It is mainly due to the presence of relaxin that exercises need modifying to meet the needs of the pregnant exerciser.  Relaxin makes joints less stable and as such stretches and some exercises need to be modified, and also means that mums-to-be are more prone to injury during activity and are less stable generally.

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