For Mums

QUICK GUIDE: PREGNANCY HORMONES – Oxytocin, Prolactin & Relaxin – PART 3

pregnancy hormones

Dive into the third and final part of your pregnancy hormones guide that includes: Oxytocin – the one that is responsible for love, Prolactin – the one that is responsible for MILK and Relaxin – the one that is responsible for relaxing the muscles.




Oxytocin or ‘feel-good’ hormone or hormone of love is behind all the emotions and love you feel for your child. It is released whenever you are close to anyone you love whether it’s your mother, partner or your dog.


  • Oxytocin starts surging during the first trimester even though not as quickly as estrogen and progesterone. It has been proved that the mothers who have a higher level of oxytocin during the first trimester have a more quick and strong bond with their infants. They have habits such as worrying about them or gazing at them more than the other women.
  • The receptors which detect oxytocin increases sharply during labor and that’s why oxytocin is also known as the labor-inducing hormone. It regulates the production of prostaglandins to promote contractions during labor and also helps uterus shrink back to its normal size after birth.
  • Once the baby is born, oxytocin helps in bringing the milk to the areola region. Levels increase when the baby sucks out the milk and stops until the next feeding session. That’s why OB/GYN tells you that breastfeeding is important to develop the connection between you and your baby.
  • There are many women who don’t breastfeed or have their baby through adoption or surrogacy. If you are wondering about what happens to these women, then you should know it’s all about the motivation and connectedness. You didn’t need any magical hormonal changes to feel so strong for your partner or your dog or your BFF. Pregnancy just gives a bountiful of motivation. It doesn’t matter if your experience is mental or physical.



Prolactin is also called milk-producing hormone and it increases 10-20 times during postpartum.

  • A mothering hormone which has a tranquilizing effect on new mothers to make them feel more relaxed and sleepy.
  • It’s the boy’s chief milk producer. Milk production works on the principle supply and demand because of prolactin. It regulates, increases and stops milking in mammals.
  • It can also increase the sensitivity of adrenal gland especially during the first 6 months of breastfeeding which means unwanted hair at unwanted places. It will go away 6 months after postpartum.



Relaxin, as the name suggests, is responsible for relaxing the muscles throughout pregnancy whether it’s to make room for the baby or extra swelling of your feets and hands.

  • It plays a major role during childbirth by loosening up the ligaments of the pelvic floor muscles relaxing the uterine muscles thus forming a birth canal for the baby.
  • The downside of this loosening during pregnancy can cause your joints to get weaker. It can also lead to pain in other parts of your body such as lower back and legs. You might lose your balance because of a shift in your body’s center of gravity and weakened muscles, which is why it’s not advised to do heavy weight lifting exercises during pregnancy.

P.S.- By weakening of muscles it doesn’t mean that your bones or muscles are losing their strength. Like many others, it’s just an effect of hormonal changes and will fade away quickly after postpartum.


These changes are unique in the life of the women. The importance of knowing which hormone will cause what and when becomes meaningful for the mother. It will become easier for her to accept them when she gets to know about the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of these changes.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Sapana V 03/07/2017 at 11:21 pm

    Such a good read and helpful article. It is really good for a new mom.

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