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One of the most common problems in pregnancy is an extreme imbalance in hormones and this imbalance can lead to numerous problems. One of the most important hormones in pregnancy is estrogen. It plays a huge role in the health and well-being of the mother as well as the development of the baby.
What is Estrogen?
The human body has numerous hormones that help with the development and maintenance of the human body. Two of these hormones are gender dominant – testosterone and estrogen. All humans have both hormones but women have estrogen as their dominant hormone (while men have testosterone as their dominant hormone).
Estrogen is usually produced in the placenta and ovaries for women. One of the most significant forms of estrogen produced by the human female body is estradiol. It is, in fact, the most important hormone for the welfare of your baby’s development. This hormone allows women to get pregnant and thereafter plays a critical role in preventing miscarriages.
What Role Does Estrogen Play During Pregnancy?
Here are some of the roles estrogen plays during pregnancy:
1. Helps Carry a Baby to Term
Estrogen is a major hormone that involves a lot of minor hormones like estradiol which was mentioned above. The estrogen hormones in women are critical as they are produced by the placenta and ovaries and play a pivotal role in seeing the pregnancy to term. They do so by maintaining the uterine lining which provides a safe space for the growth of the baby. They also help regulate other hormones like progesterone which are essential for foetal growth.
2. Impacts the Fertility Prospects of the Offspring
Studies by the University Of Maryland Medical Center show that women who are pregnant and have low estrogen levels can in turn damage the chances of their children being fertile enough to carry a child of their own, the same study shows that having too much estrogen can lead to other fertility issues and increase the chances of your child miscarrying. A balanced and healthy estrogen level will drastically improve not just the health of your child but also their chances of having children of their own.
3. Reduces Foetal Malnutrition
Estrogen is an extremely important hormone due to the fact that it plays a critical role in nourishing the developing foetus into a healthy baby that is ready to come out into the world, having a healthy level of estrogen ensures the foetus is nourished well. Having low or high estrogen during pregnancy can increase the risk of foetal malnutrition.
How is Estrogen Testing Done?
Estrogen tests are done as a part of your pregnancy quad tests, it can also be tested independently regardless of if you are pregnant or not. To test estrogen levels, doctors will draw a little blood and test the blood for components of estrogen called estriol and a protein called alpha-fetoprotein or AFP. They will also test for human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG. By measuring these three aspects through your blood, doctors can accurately gauge your estrogen levels.
Impact of Low Estrogen Level during Pregnancy
Low estrogen during pregnancy can be detrimental to the overall pregnancy and to the kids born, especially females. Low estrogen during pregnancy can lead to:
- Fewer eggs in the female babies born of the pregnancy
- Fertility issues in the female babies born of the pregnancy
The outcome is very specific to individuals, so if you have low estrogen levels, it is recommended you talk to a doctor to understand what your specific risks and challenges.
Change in Estrogen Levels and Normal Value Range in Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your hormones will spike and fall, estrogen is no different. Doctors often recommend women don’t check their estrogen too often due to fears that they may panic without a cause. Usually, during pregnancies, doctors will access your estrogen levels regularly and provide a range that is considered healthy due to the fluctuations in the levels of hormones. Here are the normal ranges for each trimester during pregnancy.
- First Trimester – 187-2498 pg/ml
- Second Trimester – 1276-7193 pg/ml
- Third Trimester – 6138-3461 pg/ml
It is crucial to remember that estrogen levels do fluctuate. The ranges provided above are considered safe and you can expect your estrogen levels during pregnancy week by week to radically fluctuate. Do not panic if it is within the range provided above or slightly higher or lower.
If you are concerned about your levels or estrogen and pregnancy risks due to this, we recommend you consult a doctor and ease your fears. Remember, hormonal imbalances are normal during pregnancy and hormonal imbalances can be treated with medication.
Also Read: Role of Progesterone during Pregnancy