HOW HORMONAL CHANGES DURING PREGNANCY AFFECTS YOUR WORK LIFE- By Dr. Beena Jeysingh
Indiranagar, Bengaluru Feb 14, 2017
Being pregnant is one of the most life changing events that can completely alter you physically and emotionally. During pregnancy, the woman’s body undergoes significant changes to help with the development of the baby. The hormonal changes in the first trimester completely alter the way the woman perceives the world through the senses of smell, sight and taste. There are significant changes in heart and kidney functions, increase in body fat as well as physiological changes to the uterus and breasts. These changes are due to the hormones produced by the mother’s glands and the placenta and each of them impacting the mother in their own way. These hormones include estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, renin, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and human placental lactogen.
These changes can be pretty overwhelming, especially for working women, as it can make your regular schedules a little more complicated than usual. However, understanding these changes will help a woman to deal with the situation accordingly. Hormonal changes are normal in a pregnant woman; they indicate that the body is being prepared for the development of a new life form.
Changes in sense of balance: A woman’s body undergoes many changes during pregnancy. Her breasts become larger, while her abdomen transforms into a convex form, increasing the curvature at the back. This could, in turn, shift the center of gravity for the woman and change her sense of balance. This can sometimes make it difficult for pregnant women to do exercise and they are at greater risk of getting a sprained ankle or knee. Steadiness varies from woman to woman. It is important to be active during your pregnancy as it would help the woman to physically and mentally control her body. This is especially important for working women, who are on the move all the time and need to be careful about where they are.
Nausea and vomiting:Women with rising levels of hCG often experience nausea and vomiting. The hCG hormone, which is produced by the layer of the embryo that eventually becomes the placenta, essentially prepares the body by suppressing your immune system to support the growing baby. It is a very key hormone during pregnancy and significantly rising levels of hCG can indicate any one of the following: Multiple pregnancies (twins and triplets);molar pregnancy and in the second trimester may be found in pregnancies with Down’s baby.Relatively low levels of hCG are found associated with a loss of pregnancy or risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting can create problems for working women as this would disrupt their normal schedules. Having frequent regular, healthy snacks can keep nausea at bay. A brisk walk at lunch, a little early to bed and chewing mint-flavoured gum can all help.
Increased mood swings:Fluctuating hormone levels can have a major impact on the mood of the mother. It can change from joy to anxiety to depression. One thing to watch out for is Post-partum depression.
During pregnancy, progesterone levels become extremely high. This can sometimes slow down the passage of food through the intestines and lead to decreased bowel motility. On the other hand, increased levels of the hormone can contribute to fatigue, excess sleepiness and tiredness.At the workplace itself, there are several ways in which pregnant women can deal with these problems. They can consider taking a break during the day to relax or taking a nap for a short while. Make sure you get regular physical activity and take a pregnancy yoga class. Other ways to control your mood swings are spending time with your partner, watching a movie or going out with friends.
Heart & kidney function:During pregnancy, there will be an increase in the amount of blood that the heart pumps each minute. Changes in levels of hormones such as Progeterone results in low blood pressure. Don’t sit or stand in any one position for too long as it can cause the blood to pool at your legs and cause it to swell. Keep shifting position, walk around office and keep taking short breaks. Exercise is a great way to help with your low blood pressure.
Sometimes there is no free flow of urine from kidneys to bladder causing stasis of urine in kidneys and dilatation of the tube connecting the kidney and bladder called ureter resulting in severe pain.This is partly due to effect of Progesterone hormone and partly due to compression of the growing uterus on the ureter.
Skin changes:Many women experience changes in their skin during pregnancy. During pregnancy, some women might experience increased pigmentation of skin called melasma.Due to the high levels of estrogen, small dilated skin blood vesselsdevelop. While most of the pigmentation is temporary and is likely to disappear after pregnancy, some like stretch marks can permanently alter the skin.Elevated estrogen levels also result in spider veins, nausea and skin changes including changes in skin’s pigment. Ensure that you wear light clothing that breathes.
Overall, hormonal changes are essential for a good pregnancy. They bring with it certain side effects as well, which are temporary of course. But, for the nine months, life can be made easy if one were to follow the above mentioned recommendations. Motherhood is a time of bliss, so enjoy it while it lasts!