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Adaptations to Pregnancy and Major Hormones

During pregnancy, the human body has to undergo certain physiological changes to create appropriate conditions for the fetus and to maintain a woman’s health. The placenta and an endocrine gland are responsible for the production of four significant pregnancy hormones that support the embryo (Perry et al., 2017). Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is the first protein hormone manufactured after conception: its presence serves as the basis for the pregnancy test. It ensures the supply of estrogen and progesterone and sustains their production. Another hormone, human placental lactogen (hPL), stimulates maternal metabolism in order to support the growth of the fetus (Perry et al., 2017). The role of the hormone estrogen is to increase breast growth and uterine blood flow. Finally, progesterone prevents premature labor and maintains the fetus in a quiet state. These four hormones play a major role in supporting both the embryo and the pregnant woman’s health.

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The adaptations of the woman’s body are connected with supporting the fetus and ensuring its development. Maternal metabolism is one of the most important processes during pregnancy; both hPL and progesterone stimulate blood flow and metabolism to ensure that all nutrients will be successfully transferred to the fetus (Perry et al., 2017). Some of the important metabolic functions of the placenta include nutrition and storage. During pregnancy, it stores proteins, calcium, iron, and other substances necessary for the growth of the fetus. Moreover, a woman’s body starts to accumulate water, salts, and vitamins to meet the embryo’s needs (Perry et al., 2017). Finally, kidneys become responsible for excreting waste products of the fetus. Therefore, the changes occur on the cellular and hormonal levels and influence the functioning of organs.

In conclusion, pregnancy launches multiple complicated processes in a woman’s body, which lead to different physiological changes. The placenta produces human chorionic gonadotropin, human placental lactogen, estrogen, and progesterone, which are the four major hormones responsible for maintaining pregnancy. Besides, other adaptations, such as the increased blood flow, the accumulation of nutrients, and the changes in organs’ functioning contribute to supporting both the fetus and the woman’s health.


Perry, S.E., Hockenberry, M.J., Alden, K.R., Lowdermilk, D.L., Cashion, M.C., & Wilson, D. (2017). Maternal child nursing care (6th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences.

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