Pregnancy hormones what do they do to your body?

Pregnancy hormones, from the moment you are pregnant, so the moment your egg is fertilized, your body undergoes a lot of changes. Think of a growing uterus, a complete change of your hormone balance and of course a growing baby in your stomach.

The change of your hormone system is essential and ensures that you are able to develop and grow your child. Without these changes, this is simply not possible. So think about this during your pregnancy. Because even though these pregnancy hormones are very important, they are not always fun! Below you can read which pregnancy hormones you are dealing with and what they can bring about in your body.

Pregnancy hormones in the first and second trimesters

In your 1st and 2nd trimester you will immediately have to deal with a number of hormones. This is necessary because especially in your first trimester your child makes the biggest leaps in development. Your body also needs to prepare well for the further pregnancy.

hCG: Human chorionic gonadotropin

If your egg is fertilized, it starts to feel like a job to your womb to settle in. When your egg is not fertilized, your body will reject the egg during menstruation.
But because a child is going to grow now, it is important that your body does not reject this egg. To prevent this, your body makes hCG hormone. The fertilized egg in this period has a yellow casing called corpus luteum. This casing produces other hormones again.

In addition to the fact that the hCG hormone ensures that the egg is not rejected (and your menstruation so not stay), it also ensures that no new egg cells will mature and your baby can develop and grow. The moment your body makes a lot of hCG is also the moment that you are really pregnant. Pregnancy tests are therefore aimed at detecting this hormone in your urine. From the moment you are four or five weeks pregnant, a pregnancy test can be reliable.

Possible symptoms of the hCG or pregnancy hormones:

  • (morning) nausea;
  • fatigue;
  • violently changing emotions pregnancy;
  • sensitive breasts;
  • headache;
  • weaker bladder.

The hCG hormone reaches its peak by the time you are about 9 to 12 weeks pregnant, after which the hormone decreases so that the symptoms will also decrease or even disappear.

Progesterone during pregnancy

In the first weeks of your pregnancy, in addition to hCG, progesterone is also produced by the corpus luteum (the yellow shell of the egg). Once the placenta has been developed, it takes over the production of the hormone. From the second quarter, this production will increase and the production of hCG will decrease.

Pregnancy symptoms of progesterone:

Progesteron make sure that:

  • the egg can be implanted (first weeks of the pregnancy);
  • your body accepts the strange DNA (of your baby);
  • the mucous membrane of the uterine wall is not repelled;
  • the glands in the uterine wall can feed your baby (the placenta has not yet developed)
  • relax your muscles.

Because progesterone causes your muscles to relax, this can lead to the following pregnancy ailments:

  • lower blood pressure;
  • extreme fatigue;
  • dizziness;
  • pelvic instability (due to looser tires);
  • slower intestines and therefore constipation;
  • stomach acid;
  • bleeding gums.

A few benefits of progesterone are that it makes your hair thicker, your skin more beautiful and your firmer nails get. It should be noted that these positive symptoms do not occur in every woman. It may also happen that your hair will indeed grow better, but not just on your head. So do not be surprised if hairs suddenly appear in strange places!

Estrogen and progesterone pregnancy: what do these pregnancy hormones do with your mood, your behavior and your emotions? Every woman reacts differently to the hormone fluctuations.


Immediately after fertilization, the shell of the egg makes estrogen. This production is also later taken over by the placenta. Estrogen has a great function in the development of your baby like the organs and especially the adrenal gland. Estrogen rises most in the first trimester, after which it rises less or not, but does not weaken anymore.

The moment the other hormones diminish in your body, and estrogen predominates is often the moment that the delivery starts. Although there is no hard evidence for this yet, many researchers come to this conclusion.

Possible symptoms of estrogen:

  • pregnancy acne (beginning of pregnancy);
  • nausea;
  • increased appetite and irresistible sense of good food (often in the second trimester);
  • more beautiful skin;
  • Varicose veins (end of the second trimester)

Pregnancy hormones second trimester

Whether the mentioned pregnancy hormones were not enough, you get a few more in the second trimester. The advantage is that hCG is already diminishing so you probably feel better and more energetic when you have passed the first 12 weeks.

MSH (melanocyte-stimulating hormone)

MSH is a hormone that stimulates the formation of pigment (as the name actually says). About halfway through your second trimester (but this may vary) you can see the effect of this hormone. Some women get 'burden' from a pregnancy mask (around the 23rd week).

A pregnancy mask is characterized by dark spots on your face. Another symptom of MSH is the pregnancy mark (linea nigra).You can have this line reasonably early in your pregnancy, or later in the second trimester. The stretch mark is a dark vertical stripe from your navel to your pelvis. Do not worry if you have these symptoms, after your pregnancy, when the hormone is out of your body, the symptoms also disappear.

Pregnancy hormones second and last trimester

Proteron and estrogen remain in your body during your entire pregnancy. As the pregnancy progresses, other hormones are produced.


Prolactin prepare your breasts for breastfeeding that you can give after your pregnancy. This can result in sensitive breasts or even leaking breasts.


Although there is some uncertainty about the exact function of this hormone, it is suspected that it loosens your ligaments. The hormone also plays a role in initiating childbirth.

Pregnancy hormone during and hormones after delivery


Oxytocin is a hormone that has multiple functions. It ensures, among other things, that your uterus can contract during childbirth and induces the contractions. But oxytocin is also known as the 'hug-hormone'and creates a soothing feeling. After the birth of your child, this same substance ensures that your milk production starts.

If your labor pains do not get going well during labor or when you are introduced, you will often be given synthetic oxytocin. Even after your delivery, the hormone can be administered to ensure that the afterbirth starts faster.

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