Pregnancy–a beautiful, blissful time in your life. Your growing baby reminds you daily of the gift you have to create life, and your connection to the rhythms of nature.
Yeah, right. If you’re a pregnant woman feeling like a majestic earth goddess, congratulations, but this article is not for you. This is for the moms-to-be who are bloated, cranky, and cursing the evil hormones making us miserable.
Meet Your Pregnancy Hormones
During pregnancy, your body pumps out tons of hormones that run the show to grow a new human being. Get to know them (the good and the bad):
HCG: Human chorionic gonadotropin is the stuff the pregnancy test picks up on. This hormone pushes pause on your normal menstrual cycle so your body knows it’s baby time. HCG may also be one of the culprits behind morning sickness.
Progesterone: Progesterone relaxes smooth muscle in your body (e.g., your uterus), so you’re ready to stretch to accommodate a growing baby. It also helps keep your immune system from attacking the baby. You may know progesterone better for the less-fun side effects, including nausea, dizziness, heartburn, reflux, constipation, gas, and those dark hairs sprouting everywhere you don’t want them.
Relaxin: Like the name implies, relaxin tells your body to loosen up. Specifically, the ligaments holding your bones together. Relaxin is good because your pelvis needs to change shape. It’s annoying because looser ligaments can lead to achiness and even less coordination!
Hormones Make You Think You’re Pregnant
Evil pregnancy hormones can strike before you even conceive. Women trying for a baby may notice that PMS symptoms bear an uncanny resemblance to early pregnancy signs. That’s because progesterone gears your body up for pregnancy after ovulation, whether or not there’s a fertilized egg. If you’re hoping for a baby, trying to spot symptoms before you test can be frustrating and disheartening. It’s better to wait until you miss your period, take a test, and know for sure.
Pregnancy Hormone Woes
When you finally get the long-awaited positive pregnancy test, buckle in. Everyone’s pregnancy is different, but any of these side effects may be your constant reminder you’re gestating:
- Your nether regions are a swamp situation.
- You were dying for mac ‘n’ cheese, until you tasted it. Now you never want to see, hear, or smell it again.
- Speaking of, your coworker’s perfume makes you throw up.
- So does peanut butter. And even the thought of raw chicken makes you gag.
- Even your partner’s smell, usually so appealing, turns your nose.
- You’re breaking out in acne.
- And you have enough stray chin hairs that it’s starting to feel like a goatee.
- Not to mention mood swings, and now you’re feeling like you’re going through puberty again, but this time as a guy??
- Your boobs blow up Baywatch-style, but no one is allowed to touch these swollen, tender, painful things. Nobody.
- It’s 9 a.m. and you’re already ready for bed.
- Mid-afternoon crash hits, and this time you actually do nod off. At your desk.
- You found the laundry on the kitchen counter and a half-melted gallon of ice cream on the dryer. Pregnancy brain, or just exhaustion?
- Your doctor doesn’t want you to have sushi, but a salmon roll sounds so unbearably perfect right now, you could cry.
- And then you do cry, because pregnancy hormones.
- Your hips ache, even though your belly hasn’t “popped” and you just have that bloated, post-burrito look.
- You cannot eat said burrito without an acid demon bubbling in your throat for hours.
- You hoped you’d be lovely and powerful and glowing, but mostly you feel like a bear who’s not allowed to hibernate.
In summary, pregnancy hormones are evil and spend most of the time dreaming up new ways to torment you. The one redeeming factor is that, however nasty they seem, pregnancy hormones are also doing a lot of work to protect and care for your baby. And that baby’s going to come out super cute. After all, you’ve earned at least that much.