Course Overview

Mary Beth is 23 years old, and pregnant at 30 weeks gestation with her first baby (G1P0). During her routine prenatal appointment she appears anxious as she tells you:

"I'm getting dark brown patches on my face, I always seem to have heartburn and my ankles are so swollen at the end of the day! I always feel so hot, like I've got a fever! My friend told me it's all because of "hormones", but I don't see how hormones can affect me from head to toe! I'm really getting uncomfortable. Are you sure I'm OK?"

Mary Beth is asking you to educate her about the complex world of hormones! Though it's a challenging job, there are definitely benefits to spending time helping Mary Beth understand how hormones affect how she's feeling. Some of the benefits include:

The goal of this course is to review hormone activity in pregnancy, and relate this activity to the actual physical changes the mother experiences. We'll focus on the major hormones and their functions, as well as their interactions. This information can be dispensed to our patients and their families "as needed." Also, as we cover the hormones, we'll point out some practical assessment and intervention applications for the nurse to use as he/she cares for the childbearing family.

This course is the first of a series describing normal physiological changes of pregnancy. Future courses will examine physiological changes of pregnancy in the respiratory, cardiovascular, and other body systems. Hormonal activity is key to the changes in these systems, therefore we'll be referring back to this course during the rest of the series.

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Understanding how hormones act and interact may help prevent complications of pregnancy.


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