When you’re pregnant, the influx of hormones that naturally occur in your body gives you a natural glow. These hormones also facilitate the growth of the fetus. You’re probably familiar with many of the hormones that develop in higher amounts during your pregnancy, such as hCG, which is the hormone responsible for the pink lines on your positive pregnancy test.
However, there are other hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, as well as oxytocin and relaxin, that you need to be aware of as your pregnancy progresses. Here are some of the ways that a prenatal screening will give you more information about healthy estrogen levels and other hormones, as well as ways you can boost your estrogen levels while pregnant.
The Role of Estrogen in Pregnancy
Estrogen is one of the main hormones that are active during pregnancy. Your estrogen levels will significantly increase while you’re pregnant and will be the highest they will ever be in your life.
It is common to experience nausea during the first trimester because your estrogen levels will increase quickly. Once you’re in your second trimester, this hormone will encourage the stimulation of the milk ducts in your breasts.
Your estrogen levels will spike consistently during pregnancy but will become particularly high in the third trimester. This is likely when you’ll notice that your feet, ankles or fingers are swollen.
How Estrogen and Progesterone Work Together
While estrogen is the main pregnancy hormone, progesterone is the second main hormone related to pregnancy. Progesterone facilitates the growth of your uterus to provide room for your baby to grow. This hormone is also responsible for loosening your joints and ligaments to prepare your body for childbirth. Progesterone is also important in pregnancy because it lowers your risk of an exercise-related injury.
Your ovaries make both estrogen and progesterone. When you’re pregnant, the placenta will produce progesterone as well to deliver these essential hormones to the fetus, so your progesterone levels will be extremely high during pregnancy.
Ways to Boost Your Estrogen Levels
Keeping your estrogen and progesterone levels balanced and increasing your estrogen during pregnancy is important. You need estrogen to support your growing baby and to ensure you’re producing enough milk to nurse your little one.
A diet filled with phytoestrogens can be helpful during pregnancy. Foods like soybeans and flaxseeds contain high amounts of phytoestrogens, which are food sources of the hormone that bind to your body’s estrogen receptors. Soy can help your body produce estrogen at healthy levels, while flaxseed makes it easy for your body to metabolize estrogen.
You can also try adding sesame seeds to your food to boost your estrogen levels. This is especially beneficial if your doctor has informed you that you are estrogen-deficient.
During your pregnancy, you can also take a variety of supplements to increase estrogen levels. B vitamins, especially B2 and B6, are essential for metabolizing estrogen. You can also take vitamin D, which functions as a hormone once it enters the body. Vitamin D and estrogen work together to improve the condition of your heart and raise your estrogen levels.
Be sure to speak with your OBGYN about ways you can keep your estrogen at healthy levels during your pregnancy. If you’re currently taking a prenatal vitamin, check with your doctor to make sure that taking additional supplements is best for you.
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