Pregnancy hormones


The term “pregnancy hormone” primarily refers to human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG or beta-HCG for short. This peptide hormone is made by part of the placenta and is an important pregnancy-maintaining hormone. Incidentally, beta-HCG is the hormone that is measured in commercial pregnancy tests. Other important pregnancy hormones are estrogen and progesterone. Pregnancy hormones are those hormones that are responsible for the process and maintenance of pregnancy.

Which are they?

There are hormones that are counted as pregnancy hormones in the narrower sense, as well as hormones that are often only counted in the broader sense. The following section provides an overview of important pregnancy hormones and their broad function:

  1. human chorionic gonadotropin: This hormone is made by part of the placenta. It is measured in the commercially available pregnancy tests to determine pregnancy.
  2. estrogen: During pregnancy, oestrogens are mainly formed in the placenta. In the non-pregnant woman, the ovaries do this.
  3. progesterone: Progesterone belongs to the group of progestins and is produced by the placenta during pregnancy. It is one of the important pregnancy-maintaining hormones.
  4. Prostaglandins: Prostaglandins are small tissue hormones that are very important, especially at the end of pregnancy. They are formed by almost all tissues. However, at the end of pregnancy, high concentrations are found in the placenta.
  5. Oxytocin: Oxytocin is produced in the mother's brain, more precisely in the hypothalamus. The importance of oxytocin increases particularly at the end of pregnancy and during breastfeeding.
  6. Prolactin: Prolactin is produced in the maternal pituitary gland and also becomes more important at the end of pregnancy.
  7. Thyroid hormones: Thyroid hormones are produced by the mother up to the 12th week of pregnancy. Only in the 12th week of pregnancy does the fetus begin to produce its own hormones.

What is the effect?

Pregnancy hormones fulfill important tasks and are for the Preservation and the smooth running of the pregnancy are indispensable. The following section introduces the most important pregnancy hormones and their effects:

  1. Human chorionic gonadotropin: The hormone known under the abbreviation beta-HCG is essential for the Preservation of early pregnancy responsible. The beta-HCG reaches its maximum concentration by the 10th week of pregnancy and then drops continuously. Other important functions are also known. It promotes the implantation of the germ and the development of organs, prevents the rejection of the germ and improves the blood flow to the uterus. In addition, beta-HCG promotes the development and growth of the umbilical cord.
  2. estrogen: Estrogens, especially estriol, promote this Growth of the mammary gland and cause the muscle wall of the uterus to become thicker.
  3. progesterone: Progesterone is one of the most important pregnancy-maintaining hormones. It serves that Preservation of pregnancy and takes on many functions, such as closing the cervix. Shortly before birth, progesterone promotes the formation of oxytocin receptors so that labor increases and the birth can be initiated.
  4. Oxytocin: Oxytocin takes on important tasks, especially at the end of pregnancy and during breastfeeding. It promotes laborso that the birth can be initiated. Furthermore, it promotes the couple bond between mother and child after the birth. Oxytocin also plays an important role in breastfeeding. It also promotes the regression of the uterus after birth.
  5. Prolactin: Prolactin is not a “pregnancy hormone” in the narrower sense, as it only becomes active after pregnancy. It promotes milk production and is therefore essential for breastfeeding. In addition, it suppresses ovulation and menstrual bleeding, so that it protects the woman from becoming pregnant again during the breastfeeding period.
  6. Thyroid hormones: Thyroid hormones are particular for that neurological development important to the child.

What is an HCG Diet?

The HCG Diet is a diet program developed by a British endocrinologist named Simeons in the 1950s that promises rapid weight loss. The development of the diet took place under ethically questionable circumstances and the promotion of the diet should also be viewed critically. The diet, which was published in 1954, recommended an ultra-low calorie diet - under 500 calories daily - in combination with an HCG injection. Although the diet is still advertised by some vendors, it is nowadays highly controversial. HCG is not approved for weight loss and is mostly purchased online.

Does it make sense to take HCG for weight loss?

The HCG diet experiences a hype from time to time, which is mainly propagated in internet forums. Nevertheless, one thing has to be made very clear: the hormone HCG has no approval for use in weight loss. There is also no proven benefit in this regard. So this diet is not scientifically based.

The weight loss in people who have been on the HCG diet is due to the extreme reduction in calories. However, this is also not at all healthy, since usually fewer than 500 calories are consumed a day. Participants in the HCG diet often buy HCG supplements on the Internet in order to save costs. This is where the second risk of the diet is hidden: Contaminated or even counterfeit products are not uncommon and can have significant health consequences.

How are pregnancy hormones after an abortion?

After an abortion, the woman's hormonal balance changes. The beta-HCGwhich is detectable during pregnancy will then no longer formed. Immediately after the abortion, the value may still be slightly increased. After a few days, however, the HCG is usually no longer detectable. After a month at the latest, the value should no longer be detectable.

Basically the hormonal balance normalizes to the level normally found in women. Hormones such as progesterone, estrogen, prolactin and oxytocin are always present in certain amounts - even outside of pregnancy.

How are pregnancy hormones after a miscarriage?

After a miscarriage the beta-HCG level decreases within a few weeks, so that it can no longer be proven. There is a hormonal adjustment of the other hormones to the non-pregnant condition. This can take a few weeks. The normalization of the period can therefore also take some time. Since the hormone levels are very individual, there are no guide values.

pregnancy test

Pregnancy tests are used as a basis for measuring the Beta-HCG hormone. A distinction is made between measurements of the hormone in urine and measurements in blood. Urine tests are commercially available pregnancy tests that performed at home can be. Measurements in the blood are more precise and are vdone by a doctor.

Some urine tests are sensitive enough to indicate pregnancy 2 days before your expected period. In principle, however, a result is only considered certain 2 days after the expected period. However, false positive or false negative results can also occur. If you are unsure, a blood test and an examination by the doctor should be carried out.