Everything You Need To Know About Hormones And Pregnancy
Hormones, the guilty party for many of the pregnancy changes. Even if they are not the culprit, they get blamed. They are all over the place in pregnancy and then again after birth.
Getting To Know Your Pregnancy Hormones
The first perpetrator that we encounter is HCG. This hormone basically tells the body, “hey, there is a baby in there, so make a nice cozy spot.” They are what we use to measure if we are pregnant using a home pregnancy test too. Some say this is the same hormone that causes morning sickness. Which I had morning, mid-morning, afternoon, evening, and night for 5 months. Not fun!
The 2nd is progesterone. This hormone helps us tolerate foreign DNA (our baby) and helps the body to keep all smooth muscles relaxed. This action can cause heartburn, nausea, gas, and constipation.
Oestrogen is next, this one helps to kick-start the baby’s adrenal gland and help the uterus grow. This increase can sometimes lead to increased appetite and skin issues, like pigmentation. Remember your sun cream during pregnancy. You are definitely more sensitive to the sun.
Oxytocin “love hormone” is the hormone that stretches the cervix. It also triggers nurturing feelings and behaviors.
Finally, we have Prolactin “Mothering hormone” it prepares the breast tissues for lactation and the release of milk.
Although there are many other hormones doing some amazing things. These are the main ones you hear about.
The Changes Within
These pretty big changes that take place over a long time period. So, it is unrealistic to think that we are going to bounce back and feel completely “normal” directly after childbirth. Never mind the fact that we don’t get much sleep as a new mom and our body is trying to recover from surgery or birth. Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Embrace the amazing product of your journey.
Hormone changes can really make you feel different, anxious, and even depressed. If you are concerned at all about how you are feeling, please see you Dr to discuss.
When To Seek Consult
Once the first six weeks are over and you have seen your healthcare practitioner and got the ok, you can then focus on trying to balance your hormones naturally. This starts with eating right: This means eating! Not starving yourself, as this will only slow down your metabolism. Binging with unhealthy sugary snacks is not advised either. The goal is to eat a balanced diet with a variety of fresh produce. Eating the rainbow is a nice way to remind yourself. Eating a poor diet can affect your energy levels which are vital for a new mom. It can also affect your immune and digestive system negatively.
Getting A Hold Of Those Cravings
The hormone Dopamine is involved in appetite regulation. Serotonin helps regulate appetite control. When your body is rundown and these hormone levels are low, your brain will help generate a quick-fix to create a calm, happy feeling. This is when you crave refined carbs, sugar, and fat. These foods are generally empty calories with little nutrition and leave the body feeling terrible.
So, what can we do?
- Clean up the cupboard. Out of sight and out of mind (not in the house)
- Portion Control (ignore better value, supersize etc) Freeze portion sizes
- Healthy food swops (cook your own)
- Exercise improves thyroid functioning which effects the hormones.
- Increase fiber
- Avoid diet drinks and asparthyme as this lowers your serotonin and increases your cravings
- Increase Magnesium as this regulates the sex hormones
- Eat complex carbohydrates like quinoa and cous cous.
- Eat carbs + protein together to delay absorption
- Eat every 2-3 hours.
Stop focusing on a size and start focusing on your health. You, being around for your kids is so much more important than that last 5 kg. Stop the diet foods, the fads, and the trends. Rather work towards healthy goals. My clients all agree that this is easier with tools that work and support.