Hormones are chemical substances produced in the body that control and regulate the activity of certain cells or organs. In the context of motherhood, hormones play a significant role in pregnancy and childbirth processes such as conception, fetal development, labor, and breastfeeding. Common motherhood hormones include progesterone, estrogen, oxytocin, and prolactin.

Key Takeaways

  1. Motherhood triggers the release of a complex cocktail of hormones. These hormones, which include oxytocin, prolactin, and various endorphins, play a crucial role in the nurturing and bonding processes between a mother and her newborn.
  2. The hormone oxytocin, often referred to as the “love” or “bonding” hormone, is particularly significant in motherhood. Its levels increase during pregnancy and nursing, promoting attachment and emotional bonding between the mother and child.
  3. Changes in hormonal levels can impact a mother’s emotional state. They can lead to various emotional conditions postpartum, including postnatal depression and anxiety. Understanding these hormonal fluctuations can be incredibly helpful in managing and treating these conditions effectively.


The term “hormone” is crucial in motherhood because hormones perform a significant role in the various stages associated with becoming and being a mother. The journey begins with conception, wherein hormones such as estrogen and progesterone help prepare the body for pregnancy.

These hormones thicken the uterine lining to accommodate the fertilized egg. During pregnancy, the levels of these hormones rise steadily, enabling the appropriate growth and development of the baby.

Additionally, hormones like oxytocin not only stimulate labor contractions but also play a vital role in breastfeeding by promoting the release of milk. Thus, hormones are an integral part of the motherhood experience, influencing several aspects ranging from conception to childbirth and postnatal care.


Hormones play a crucial role in motherhood, starting from conception throughout pregnancy, during childbirth, and even postpartum. These chemically-active substances are created in different parts of the body and transported by the bloodstream to another, where they exert a particular effect.

They govern various vital processes such as mature egg release, uterus preparation for implantation, pregnancy maintenance, initiating labor, and milk production. In the realm of motherhood, hormones like oestrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, prolactin, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) are key players.

For instance, hCG helps maintain the production of progesterone, crucial in the pregnancy’s early stages. Oestrogen and progesterone, key female sex hormones, are significantly involved throughout pregnancy, preparing the uterus to receive the fertilized egg, aiding its verifiable growth, and helping develop the mother’s mammary glands.

These hormones also contribute to physical changes in the mother’s body, modulating mood and appetite among other things. Oxytocin and prolactin primarily come into play post childbirth, stimulating labor and supporting breastfeeding respectively.

Examples of Hormone

Pregnancy: One of the most significant examples of hormones in motherhood is during pregnancy. The body goes through major hormonal changes, like an increase in human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), progesterone, and estrogen. These hormones support the growth and development of the fetus, prepare the body for labor, and stimulate the production of breast milk.

Breastfeeding: The hormone oxytocin plays an important role in motherhood, specifically during breastfeeding. Oxytocin facilitates nursing by stimulating the release of breast milk. Additionally, it promotes bonding between the mother and baby.

Postpartum Depression: This is a condition that affects some women after childbirth due to abrupt hormonal changes. Levels of estrogen and progesterone drop sharply after delivery, which can trigger mood swings and symptoms of depression.

FAQs about Hormone and Motherhood

1. What are the primary hormones responsible for pregnancy?

Progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) are the primary hormones responsible for maintaining pregnancy. hCG signals the ovaries to produce progesterone, necessary for sustaining the pregnancy and preventing menstrual cycles.

2. How do hormones impact postpartum depression?

After giving birth, hormone levels drop dramatically which can contribute to postpartum depression. Lack of sleep due to caring for the newborn can also cause physical discomfort and emotional anxiety, worsening mood swings and depression.

3. What roles do hormones play in breastfeeding?

Two major hormones, Prolactin and Oxytocin, play significant roles in breastfeeding. Prolactin helps with the production of breast milk, while Oxytocin aids with the delivery of this milk to the baby, a process known as letdown.

4. How do hormones change during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, levels of several hormones increase including HCG, Progesterone, Estrogen, Oxytocin, Prolactin, and Relaxin. These hormonal changes can cause various symptoms of pregnancy and are essential for the development and growth of the fetus.

5. Can hormonal changes affect the mother’s mental health?

Yes, hormonal changes during and after pregnancy can significantly impact a mother’s mental health. Fluctuations in hormones can induce mood swings, anxiety, and even depression. Women experiencing these symptoms should discuss them with their doctor.

Related Motherhood Terms

  • Oxytocin
  • Estrogen
  • Prolactin
  • Progesterone
  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)

Sources for More Information

  • Mayo Clinic – A recognized leader in health information. You can search for related articles about Hormones and Motherhood.
  • WebMD – This site provides credible health information, including topics about hormones and their functions.
  • Hormone Health Network – This organization offers a wealth of scientifically rooted information about hormones. Their content is geared towards educating the public about the crucial role that hormones play in various life stages, including motherhood.
  • Healthline – Another widely trusted source of health information. They produce in-depth, well-researched articles on a range of health-related topics, including hormonal changes during pregnancy and after childbirth.