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The role of hormones in relation to pregnancy cannot be understated. They help you conceive your child and ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Once you become pregnant, your hormone levels will shift in a way you haven’t experienced before, and this can mean some noticeable changes to how you look and feel.

Here are four of the most common things you may experience due to changes in hormone levels:

Energy Levels
Progesterone is one of the hormones whose production is increased during pregnancy. This extra progesterone can lead to fatigue during the first and third trimesters. Energy levels may fluctuate during your pregnancy, making it difficult to perform tasks you were used to do regularly before pregnancy. It’s important to listen to your body and get the rest you need.

Sex Drive
One of the more, let’s just say, fun side of effects of pregnancy can be increased sex drive. Hormones make the entire body more sensitive and increase libido. This can change during the pregnancy as sex becomes less comfortable, but as long as your doctor says it’s safe and you feel happy and secure, why not enjoy it.

Skin [see our previous blog on Skin Changes to Expect during Pregnancy]
Your skin will undoubtedly change during pregnancy and in possibly a few different ways due to hormonal changes, most notably estrogen. First, your skin may get oilier than before, which is part of that pregnancy glow. Acne may result from this increase in oil production as well. You may also develop melasma, which is patches of hyperpigmentation on the face also referred to as the “mask of pregnancy.” Lastly, hormones can cause the development of a linea nigra, which is a dark line from your belly button to your pubic bone.

The reason those gotta-have-it-now cravings are so intense during pregnancy is because of hormones. Women may experience cravings like this on a smaller scale already during their menstrual cycle. These cravings can, however, lead to weight gain depending on what they’re for. While weight gain is needed during pregnancy, make sure it’s coming from wholesome foods as much as possible. Hormones will also lead to the development of larger breasts, which is another source of added weight during pregnancy as the body prepares for breast milk to come in to feed the baby.

All of these changes are normal and to be expected with a pregnancy, since it’s such a major transition for the body. Speaking with your doctor can help you determine the best course of action to deal with issues you can have related to shifts in your hormones during and after your pregnancy. Taking care of yourself by eating well, exercising when you can and getting plenty of sleep can help you look and feel your best as you begin this new phase of life.

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