Hormones, Morning Sickness and a Healthy Baby

Morning sickness is nature’s way of your body saying “I’m Pregnant!” Although the nauseating feeling can take the excitement out of the exciting moment, it is actually a good sign that your body’s hormones are working properly to develop a healthy baby. The exact cause of morning sickness is medically unclear, however, expert sources agree that hormones play a significant part in this temporary condition. Understanding how hormonal changes affect your body is the first step in dealing with morning sickness.

Pregnancy Hormones: What do they do?

Human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG is a hormone released by the embryo soon after conception. The production of HCG is continued through a part of the placenta. The function of this peptide hormone is to preserve an integral part of the ovary as well as maintain progesterone production that is so important in the development of a healthy baby.

Progesterone lines the uterus with life sustaining blood vessels and capillaries to cushion and protect the growing fetus. HCG also protects the baby from the mother’s immune system, letting the body know through chemical messengers that the baby is an acceptable, developing part of the mother’s body.

Levels of HCG are higher in woman pregnant with multiple babies. An over the counter pregnancy test will be positive if HCG is present in the blood stream. HCG levels are highest during the twelfth week of pregnancy and generally taper off during the sixteenth week of pregnancy when the 1st trimester ends and the 2nd trimester begin. Pregnant woman generally report feeling better or “over” the morning sickness after the sixteenth week of pregnancy.

Estrogen is a hormone that is released from the female reproductive system and the placenta. Estrogen is considered the “female hormone” and is used to regulate the female reproductive system. During pregnancy, the primary purpose of the hormone is to regulate progesterone, protecting the baby throughout the pregnancy. This hormone is also critical to the development of many major organs and functions of the baby’s body. Estrogen levels are extra high during pregnancy adding to the major chemical changes going on within a pregnant woman’s body.

Another hormone called human placental lactogen, or HTL, is produced by the placenta and becomes a part of the pregnancy hormone system. HTL sustains the mother’s organ systems while diverting enough energy to enable the fetus to grow properly. It also activates the milk glands in the breasts to prepare for the possibility of breastfeeding.

Theory of Morning Sickness

It is theorized among the medical community that a combination of hormones and low blood sugar sustained from not eating during the night is the possible cause of morning sickness. Morning sickness is a condition that affects at least fifty percent of all pregnant women. The organ systems of the fetus are laid out during the first three months of development. Medical expert references find it interesting that at this critical time, the condition of morning sickness develops. Although morning sickness is far from being a pleasant experience, there is a medical theory that maintains that morning sickness could be a sign of a healthy, developing baby.

Morning Sickness: Sign of a Healthy Baby?

As the organ systems of the baby are laid out, the baby has only a very small need for nutrients and is more susceptible to chemicals and other harmful agents that could cause birth defects. The medical theory proposes that within certain foods, even vegetables, are toxins that could cause birth defects and other harmful conditions. The theory suggests that morning sickness actually helps a pregnant woman’s body ingest only the healthiest nutrients that are critical to the baby’s development at this time. Some official medical studies have shown that women with morning sickness have less chance of experiencing a miscarriage and less chance of the baby having a birth-defect. However, some experts do not believe in a link between morning sickness and a healthy baby. Certainly, a mother not experiencing morning sickness need not worry, as morning sickness is not the only indicator of a healthy baby.

Take some comfort! Spending all morning in the bathroom throwing up may be a very positive sign. Hormones at work in your body are creating, sustaining and developing something wonderful that in nine months will be a precious joy to hold in your arms.

More resouces on morning sickness at Child’n Parent and Wikipedia .