Children's Health and Wellness

Hormones During Pregnancy

What is the role of hormones during pregnancy?

Many hormone levels are affected in the body during pregnancy. Several hormones play major roles during pregnancy. These are:

  • Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG). This hormone is only made during pregnancy. It is made almost exclusively in the placenta. HCG hormone levels found in the mother's blood and urine rise a lot during the first trimester. They may play a part in the nausea and vomiting often linked to pregnancy.

  • Human placental lactogen (hPL). This hormone is also known as human chorionic somatomammotropin. It is made by the placenta. It gives nutrition to the fetus. It also stimulates milk glands in the breasts for breastfeeding.

  • Estrogen. This group of hormones helps develop the female sexual traits. It is normally formed in the ovaries. It is also made by the placenta during pregnancy to help maintain a healthy pregnancy.

  • Progesterone. This hormone is made by the ovaries and by the placenta during pregnancy. It stimulates the thickening of the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg.

Print Source: Kumar P. Hormones in Pregnancy. Nigerian Medical Journal. 2012;53(4):179-83.
Print Source: Maternal adaptations to pregnancy: Endocrine and metabolic changes. UpToDate.
Print Source: Picciano M. Pregnancy and Lactation: Physiological Adjustments, Nutritional Requirements and the Role of Dietary Supplements. Journal of Nutrition. 2003;133(6):s1997-98.
Online Source: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG);The Pregnancy Hormone, American Pregnancy Associationhttp://americanpregnancy.org/while-pregnant/hcg-levels/
Online Source: Endocrine-related Organs, Endocrine Society, Hormone Health Networkhttp://www.hormone.org/hormones-and-health/the-endocrine-system/endocrine-related-organs
Online Editor: Semko, Laura
Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Sacks, Daniel, MD, FACOG
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2018
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