Hormones of Pregnancy Series: For the Love of Oxytocin



Often referred to as the love hormone, oxytocin is at least partially responsible for the continuation of life on Earth. A mammalian neuromodulator hormone, oxytocin facilitates birth, bonding, and breastfeeding. Though it also plays a likely role in community building, sexual interest, anxiety, and social recognition it is best known as the birth hormone because its very existence typically triggers labor.

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Hormones of Pregnancy Series: Flexible Effects of Relaxin

During pregnancy a special type of hormone produced by the placenta, known as relaxin, is released in abundance. The hormone, quite fittingly, causes muscles to relax and stretch. This stretching is necessary to help the body accommodate an ever-growing uterus as it stretches from around the size of a tennis ball, to something large enough to support a seven pound baby or two. This hormone also helps to expand the blood vessels without raising blood pressure, help the ligaments to stretch, and all around loosen up a pregnant woman’s body.

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