Hormones play important roles in fertility and baby development during pregnancy. Becoming pregnant and carrying a baby for 9 months is an altogether different and life-changing experience for a woman. During this phase, not only is she nurturing her baby, but also going through multiple changes, physically and emotionally. There are hormonal changes which cause fluid retention, mood swings, skin breakouts and emotional outbursts, while also being responsible for passing on nutrients to the foetus.
Key hormones that affect pregnant women include FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), LH (Luteinising Hormone), Estrogen, Progesterone, Placental Growth Factor, Oxytocin and Prolactin.
Estrogen is responsible for the overall development of the foetus, the growth of the uterus and the much talked about ‘pregnancy glow’, and Progesterone i.e the ‘pregnancy hormone’, mainly helps prepare a woman’s breasts for lactation and ensures a healthy pregnancy.
Hormonal Imbalance During Pregnancy:
Hormonal Imbalance is most common during pregnancy and can be seen in majority of women. Any expectant mother who feels like the only one facing assorted challenges, should be reassured knowing that she is not alone. Nearly every woman faces some issues, causing her to become nauseous, anxious, irritable, exhausted, irritable or even sad.
Often women go through mood swings, ranging from quiet to talkative, sad to happy, or depressed to enthusiastic and lively.
To combat these hormonal hiccups, it is essential to have a healthy diet, exercise regularly and engage in activities that keep you mentally and physically stimulated. These will keep you calm, centred and cheerful, which automatically impact the baby.
Here are seven tips to manage the hormonal imbalance during pregnancy
Your diet plays a key role in keeping you healthy and active throughout the journey towards motherhood. Including more fibrous foods, daals, Omega-3 rich foods like flax seeds, sweet potatoes, avocado, broccoli and green leafy vegetables, help nourish mother and child.
Your doctor and a certified nutritionist are the best people to guide you with a customised meal plan. This will ensure that you are consuming sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium.
Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, and fluids like soups, coconut water or juices (only as recommended by your doctor), help you stay hydrated, enhance digestion, prevent constipation, flush out toxins, give your skin a glow and increase your energy.
Completely quit alcohol and smoking to experience a healthy and safe pregnancy
Rest & Yet Keep Moving:
Taking small breaks between tasks, to rest, help you feel energetic throughout the day. At the same time, being active is equally important. Unless one has been advised bed rest, going for walks, practising light yoga and meditating can positively impact the hormones, while making you feel calm and at ease. There are specific exercises that help strengthen the pelvic region, preparing a woman’s body for delivery.
Meet Your Tribe:
Your ‘tribe’ is all those people who support you, lift you up and keep you going. They are the ones who inspire you to do better, and bring the smile back on your face.
Every day, call one of your favourite people and share a laugh with them. Schedule time with your partner, family, friends and cousins who make you feel loved, appreciated and cared for. Having your emotional support system with you, through these months, can make a huge difference.
Though there are many ways suggested, the simplest way to meditate is to find a quiet and serene corner, close your eyes and watch your breath. Playing a soft, melodious track of instrumental music can create a meditative ambience.
Start with 15 minutes of meditation a day and increase the duration as and when you feel comfortable.
Get Quality Sleep:
As the pregnancy progresses, many women find their sleep patterns changing, and insomnia setting in. Keep your gadgets out of the room and schedule a fixed time for going to bed each night. Instead of scrolling on social media, spend the hour before sleeping having a conversation with your partner.
Consume Good Content:
If you’re an avid movie buff, watch light-hearted films instead of dark thrillers or murder mysteries. And, if you’re a book lover, read books that make you feel joyful, inspired and upbeat. The content you consume affects your mind and emotions, and also impacts your child.
Listening to classical music or chants is also said to impact the brain development of the foetus.
Your journey as a mother-to-be has just begun. Make this the most meaningful and uplifting time of your life so far, by focussing on self-love, self-care and some mindfulness.
Dr. Vangallu Padmini Silpa
Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology
Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital – Kondapur.