How do Hormones Change During Pregnancy?
Levels of pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone dramatically increase. The production of estrogen is greater in pregnancy than during any other time in a woman’s life. This permits the uterus and placenta to develop blood vessels and transfer nutrients to the growing baby. Estrogen levels increase significantly during the first trimester and are believed to cause the nausea associated with pregnancy. During the second trimester, estrogen aids in the development of milk ducts. By the third trimester, estrogen level is at its highest.
The increase in progesterone allows the ligaments and joints throughout the body to become more flexible preparing the birth canal for delivery. Progesterone is also responsible for enlarging the uterus from the size of a pear to an environment that can stretch to fit the needs of the growing baby.
Keep in mind that these changes in hormone levels are typical of pregnancy, but are only a temporary phenomenon that will correct itself once the baby is born.
What Can a Pregnant Woman Do to Cope With the Increase in Pregnancy Hormones?
You will notice as your hormone levels increase, so do your mood swings. Here are a few ways to help you cope with these mood shifts:
- Slow down – You may feel that you have an endless list of tasks that have to be completed before the baby arrives. The stress of trying to accomplish all of those chores will only increase your mood swings. Instead, just take one task at a time, complete it at a comfortable pace and move on to the next one. You could also try asking your family and friends for help.
- Take some “me” time – Do something special for yourself, like reading that new best seller, or seeing that film everyone is talking about. Make it a day when there is no mention of pregnancy or baby, and it is all about you. The break will help refresh and energize you.
- Use meditation and relaxation techniques – Enroll in a pregnancy yoga class or learn to control your breathing and heart rate through guided meditation. You can probably find free or inexpensive classes through your local YMCA, library or high school continuing education program.
- Make use of your support group – Communication is key. Talk about your concerns for the future with family and friends. Verbalizing these worries often helps you to see that they aren’t as overwhelming as they originally seemed. You may also find that your support group can help you find solutions. Above all, keep the lines of communication open with your spouse. Let him know that these outbursts of emotion aren’t directed at him. It’s also a good idea to let him talk about his feelings, too.
- Ask for support from your pastor or minister – Your church may be a good source to find a counselor to help you deal with your emotions and to find people who can land a hand with things that need to be accomplished before baby’s arrival.
What Can Fathers Do to Cope With the Increase in Pregnancy Hormones?
Your wife needs some pampering during this stressful time, so try to be as nurturing as possible. Take time out to sit with her to allow both of you to discuss any fears you may have about your new life. Bring her a little gift that reminds her how much you still love her. Other times, suggest going for a walk together and enjoy the time spent together without talking about the future.