Tag Archives: hormones

Initial Pregnancy: Headaches

Unfortunately, headaches are a common part of most every pregnancy at some time or another. In your first trimester, they are most often caused by surging hormones or increased blood volume. And they are no fun, but they are a good sign that your body is doing the work that it is supposed to.

Did you know that you can often determine the source of your headache by the location of the pain? You probably all know that migraines are characterized by an all-over throbbing ache, possible visual disturbances, and even nausea and vomiting, but did you know that hormonal headaches, tension headaches, and others have their own location? Tension headaches are normally in a ring around the head, as if you were wearing a tight crown. Sinus headaches are more toward the front, starting with the cheekbones and working their way up the temples. Hormone and increased blood volume headaches tend to be at the back of the head or base of the skull and are characterized by a dull ache.

Headaches are not typically something to be concerned about, but you should call your provider if you get little to no relief from medication, the headache continues to worsen, you have other symptoms such as swelling or abdominal pain, or the headache lasts longer than four hours. Yes, we mean headaches, not erections (thanks, Viagra commercials). Can anyone hear “lasting longer than four hours” now without that coming to mind?

As with all signs and symptoms of pregnancy, headaches are best treated with natural remedies if at all possible. In March, we will release another blog post, focusing on the alternative therapies for headaches and how you can avoid over-the-counter medications. Or, feel free to reach out to us if you need the information now.

So, if you have headaches, and maybe a couple other early signs or symptoms we’ve listed this month, you just might be pregnant.

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Initial Pregnancy: Mood Changes

Have you found yourself stuck in a seemingly eternal cycle of PMS mood swings? You could be pregnant. The wonderful, necessary hormone, progesterone, and subsequent drop in estrogen, is responsible for the moods associated with PMS, and the hormones give similar characteristics during the beginning of pregnancy, with progesterone quickly on the rise.

You may find that you are more emotional, more prone to anger, sadness, mental confusion, or depression, or you may be just fine. That’s the fun of hormones; they cause a roller coaster of emotions within the mind, but only sometimes. The fatigue, lack of sleep, and nausea of early pregnancy don’t help with mood boosting either.

However, some women, especially women who were actively trying to conceive, are the happiest they’ve been in a long while, after finding out about a positive pregnancy. The point of saying mood changes is that the mood changes, and according to a recent poll of loving husbands, this can happen dramatically, for no reason, at any given time. Okay, not really, but you may be reacting stronger to stimuli than you would normally.

So if you are sobbing over Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials, irrationally furious over losing that parking spot, and forget where you left your cell phone while you’re talking on it, you might be pregnant.

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Pre-Conception: Increased Desire

We are still talking about ovulation and getting to know your body throughout your cycle and we want to talk a little bit about the moods that accompany all these changes. There are, however, just generalizations and you may feel the complete opposites of some of these at times. That’s why it’s important to track it yourself, learn yourself, and be able to hide away in a corner with a bar of chocolate on your hardest days.

Your cycle can be divided into three phases, the follicular phase, the ovulatory phase, and the luteal phase. Each phase comes with it’s own hormones and it’s own moods and challenges. Are you wondering why this is important in trying to conceive a baby? Well, keep reading to find out more.

The first two weeks of your cycle are called the follicular phase, from the first day of menstruation to just before ovulation. During this time, the body is increasing in estrogen and testosterone. Estrogen is responsible for a calm, relaxed attitude, a general sense of caring for others and well-being. Estrogen also negates the effects of cortisol and adrenaline (the stress hormones). Testosterone, which is present in a woman even though we often think of it as the male hormone, is in charge of our sex drive. So, while you may be feeling low the first day of your period, each day should increasingly get better, your mood stabilizing, and you feel pretty relaxed.

Then the ovulatory phase comes along and knocks your socks off, quite literally. Luteinizing hormone, plus estrogen, plus testosterone, may make you have the highest sex drive of the month. This is the time that you may display increased desire, less sensitivity to pain, and want to go shopping for things that make you feel more desirable. Sephora trip, anyone?

The luteal phase comes along and ruins all the fun. After ovulation, progesterone starts to take over, estrogen and testosterone recede, and the stress effects of cortisol and adrenaline can be keenly felt. This feeling increases until the first day of menstruation, causing the emotions of PMS. The current statistic is that over 85% of women experience some type of mood shift during the week before menstruation. It appears as anxiety, stress, sensitivity to change, anger, easily upset, and prone to bouts of sadness and tears. This week is often a confusing time for women if they don’t understand their hormones and don’t make time for a little self-care.

So what does all this have to do with conception? Well, we love the fact that nature has its’ way of making babies. The time that you are most fertile, the ovulatory phase, is also the time that you seem to not be able to get enough sexual satisfaction. These mood changes should be able to help you in tracking your cycle as well because you know what hormones your body is working with at each stage. So, enjoy learning yourself as you move through the hormones. Our best advice is just roll with it, take it easy on yourself, and realize that your hormones have a strong pull on your emotions, so you might as well accept them.

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