Hormone Basics

Pregnancy is considered to be a major endocrine event. Hormones are responsible for most of the maternal physiological changes of pregnancy. Though estrogen and progesterone are the main hormones involved in pregnancy changes, there are other important factors and hormones to be considered. Not only the mother, but the fetus and the combined "fetal/maternal unit" produce and secrete hormones.

Hormonal changes are essential in meeting the nutritional needs of the growing fetus. The fetus needs steadily increasing supplies of maternal glucose, amino acids and lipids. Hormonal changes help control this process.

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Hormonal changes are responsible for meeting the nutritional needs (glucose, amino acids and lipids) of the fetus .


Before discussing the effect of hormones on pregnancy, let's review some of the important features of the endocrine system. Let's start with some background about the endocrine system, and definitions of the terms and concepts we'll be using throughout the course.

The endocrine system is responsible for producing, secreting and broadcasting hormones to all body cells. Together with the nervous system, the endocrine system controls all of the body's physiologic processes.

Both systems originate from the same embryonic layer, and the hypothalamus is the major link between the two.

For more content about hormone receptors and target organs, please look around this wonderful website from Colorado State University.

Click below and look for the answer to this question.

When referring to hormones, how are "agonists" different from "antagonists?"

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Agonists bind with the hormone receptor and "block" the normal hormone activity.


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