Posts Tagged ‘hormones’

“Why am I crying all the time?”

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

cryingIf you’re pregnant, you may notice that tears come more easily to you. One of my pregnant friends started crying as she watched a Flintstones cartoon rerun of Pebbles and Bam-Bam as they got married. Another girlfriend burst into tears while watching a pet adoption commercial!  You may find that you cry much more easily at events or situations that previously would never have made you shed a tear.

What causes the extra tears?

Your changing hormones.

From the time you conceive, the hormones estrogen and progesterone start rising. This increase in your hormones causes changes in the chemicals that send signals to your brain to regulate your mood. You may find yourself crying more often or becoming irritated easily. These mood swings are a normal part of pregnancy, especially in the first trimester.

New responsibilities and impending life changes.

A lot is happening in preparation for your newest addition and your to-do list just got longer, especially if you are pregnant around the holidays. The change may be welcomed, but it can also make you feel stressed. The realization that your baby will be entirely dependent on you soon  can seem overwhelming.

Ways to cope

  • Join our online community Share Your Story. You may find it helpful to connect and talk with other women going through a similar experience – you may even find someone getting teary eyed at the same rerun episode.
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep every day or take cat naps.  Getting enough Zzzs will help you handle any irritation or stress that comes your way.
  • Eat healthy meals and snacks.
  • Try relaxation activities, like prenatal yoga or meditation. Or squeeze a walk into your afternoon – even ten minutes of brisk walking can reduce stress!
  • Chat with your prenatal care provider. Often, just voicing your concerns and listening to a trusted professional can be enormously calming.

Fortunately, many women find their moods become more manageable in the second trimester. But, if you find you are feeling down or have symptoms of depression that last more than two weeks, or are feeling overly stressed, speak with your prenatal provider. There is much that can be done to help you feel better.

Have questions? Text or email


Hormones involved in pregnancy

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Hormones are the chemicals within the body that send signals to set off various functions.  Rising and falling levels of different hormones are essential in reproduction, pregnancy and birth.  Here are the main ones involved in having a baby:

Estrogen and progesterone – Prior to pregnancy, these are produced in the ovaries and they tell the lining of the uterus to thicken during each menstrual cycle.  And they tell the lining to cast itself off if pregnancy does not occur. Once an egg is fertilized, increasing levels of estrogen and progesterone prevent ovulation from occurring again.

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) – These hormones are made by the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain.  FSH causes an egg to ripen in one of the ovaries and LH triggers the egg’s release.

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) – Also produced in the pituitary gland, this hormone signals the production of FSH and LH.

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – This hormone is produced by the fertilized and dividing/growing egg.  It tells the body to increase estrogen and progesterone production.  This is the hormone that pregnancy tests look for in a urine sample (approx. 6-12 days after fertilization).

Rising and lowering hormone levels are essential for the process of reproduction and the maintenance of pregnancy.  What’s important is that the individual hormones rise and fall in a coordinated dance with masterful timing.  Pretty impressive stuff.

Researchers examine the benefits of hormonal contraceptives

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

birth-control-pillsAccording to a publication by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in the Jan. issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, “the benefits of hormonal contraceptives may extend beyond pregnancy prevention.” Benefits of hormonal contraceptives (pills, patches, injections, implants, vaginal rings, etc.) include the effective treatment of difficult and painful, heavy or very long periods. They may reduce symptoms of premenstrual discomfort, and may offer a “lower risk for the development of endometrial cancer…ovarian cancer,” and “colorectal cancers.” 

The bulletin also states that “combined contraceptives block androgen production and may therefore reduce hirsutism (excessive bodily and facial hair) and acne,” and may even help prevent “menstrual migraines,” treat “pelvic pain caused by endometriosis,” and treat “uterine bleeding from fibroids.” A note of caution about migraines: “combined [oral contraceptives] have been associated with possible increased stroke risk in women with migraine who are 35 years or older, who smoke, or who have focal neurologic signs. Combined OCs should therefore be avoided in these women.”

If you face some of these issues and are not trying to get pregnant at this time, you may want to have a talk with your health care provider about possible treatment benefits of hormonal contraceptives.  If you are hoping to become pregnant but have excessively long or heavy periods, your provider may suggest trying to regulate your periods first with hormonal contraceptives.  It’s worth a conversation.

How can PCOS interfere with fertility?

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, hormones, ability to have children, heart, blood vessels, and appearance (especially excessive hair growth). Although women do  produce small levels of androgens, sometimes called male hormones, women with PCOS  typically have high levels of androgens.  They usually have missed or irregular periods and their ovaries can be swollen with many small cysts.  It is estimated that 6 to 10% of all women of reproductive age have PCOS, and evidence suggests that it may run in some families.

A woman’s ovaries have follicles, which are tiny sacs filled with liquid that hold her eggs. These sacs also are called cysts. For most women, approximately 20 eggs start to mature every month, with only one maturing fully. As this one egg grows, the follicle accumulates fluid in it. When the egg is mature, the follicle breaks open and releases it. The egg then travels through the fallopian tube for fertilization. When the single egg leaves the follicle, ovulation takes place.

In women with PCOS, the ovary doesn’t produce all of the hormones it needs for any of the eggs to fully mature. Follicles may start to grow and build up fluid, but no one follicle becomes large enough. Instead, in some but not all women, some follicles may remain as cysts. Since no follicle becomes large enough and no egg matures or is released, ovulation does not occur and the hormone progesterone is not made. Without progesterone, a woman’s menstrual cycle is irregular or absent. Additionally, the cysts make male hormones, which also prevent ovulation.

Lack of ovulation is usually the reason for fertility problems in women with PCOS. Several medications that stimulate ovulation can help women with PCOS become pregnant. Even so, other reasons for infertility in both the woman and man should be ruled out before fertility medications are used.  Diet and weight loss are essential for overweight women.

Online shopping and pregnancy hormones don’t mix

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

My sister and mother-in-law are going to kill me. I just made a huge impulsive purchase online. I bought the entire crib set, including the mobile, valance, wall hangings…you name it I bought it. Right down to the little giraffe night light. Wait until my husband gets a hold of the AmEx bill. DOH! I don’t know what came over me. I was innocently searching for baby names when I came across decorating tips for nurseries. Well, one thing led to another. Before I knew it I was starring right at the order confirmation number. I thought about returning some of the things because I know my family will throw me a shower, but I really don’t want to. It was the first time any of this seemed real and I felt really close to my baby. I shouldn’t feel guilty about that, right? How does that sound? Hopefully my husband will accept that explanation. Shopping is fun…woo hoo!!