Were you loving your hair during pregnancy - only to have those luscious locks become thin and limp after your babe was born?
How about wider hips and unpredictable emotions?
Welcome to the ride.
During pregnancy and following the birth of your babe, you're on a hormonal roller coaster.
Like a teetering row of dominos, shifts in your hormones are followed by changes in other areas of your body.
If you've ever caught yourself wondering, "Is this normal?" then rest assured - it most likely is.
Finding out how your body works can get rid of unnecessary worry, so that you can focus on more important things, like preparing your hospital bag or a good latch.
The Scoop on your hormones
Hormones are little messengers that travel through your body - regulating this and that, telling organs and glands to work harder or sit back and relax.
Your placenta - the temporary organ that connects your babe to your uterus - is your main sours of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy. Besides nourishing your babe, its job is to produce hormones that help you carry your pregnancy full term and prepare you for labor.
While there are other hormones besides the 4 listed below, these make the biggest impact during your pregnancy and postpartum recovery.
Estrogen encourages blood flow to your uterus, promotes breast growth, and softens the cervix once a momma reaches full term.
At full term, estrogen levels are 1000 times higher than before pregnancy. After delivery, estrogen rapidly drops. The sudden drop in estrogen is one reason why roughly 80% of mommas have postpartum blues.
Progesterone suppresses your immune system so that it doesn't attack your growing babe. It stabilizes the uterus and staves off contractions - until everyone's ready.
During pregnancy, progesterone is 10 times higher than pre-pregnancy levels.
And the abrupt loss of progesterone - after you birth your placenta - has been linked to the later development of postpartum depression.
Cortisol is a "stress" hormone that boosts your blood sugar and suppresses your immune system.
During pregnancy, cortisol is 2 - 4 times higher than pre-pregnancy levels. This hormone helps shape your babe's developing nervous system - regulating things like mental development and temperament.
After pregnancy, high levels of cortisol pass into your breast milk and influence your babe's mood.
Oxytocin is your love + lactation hormone. It helps dilate the cervix during birth and stimulates contractions.
Oxytocin also triggers the letdown of breast milk and helps you bond with your babe.
You can than oxytocin (and a brain chemical called dopamine) for that feeling of being in love with your new little.
ABOUT MEGAN GARCIA
Simple. Safe. And effective. Megan Garcia believes that baby wellness begins before conception and is guided by more than diet. She talks about baby wellness on Instagram, Twitter, and her website, which is dedicated to supporting mothers and their babes.