Why postpartum hormones are important


Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy
Postpartum Hormone Adjustments
Postpartum Hormones and Breastfeeding
The Postpartum Hormonal Roller Coaster
The Importance of Self-Care
Balancing Postpartum Hormones

Postpartum hormones not only mark the next stage of your parenting journey but also bring significant changes. Weight gain and skin, hair, and appearance changes are all expected during pregnancy.

The hormonal fluctuations also experienced go far beyond mood swings. Why do these postpartum hormones matter?

While many new moms are prepared for these changes to occur, few are aware of what to expect after delivery. These postpartum hormones are temporary but crucial to a new mom’s well-being.

Join us as we identify and understand these hormones. We’ll also look at their crucial role in postpartum wellness.

Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy

There are many pregnancy hormones playing their part in each trimester. They’re the reason you can go from the peaceful, glowing mom-to-be to bawling your eyes out while watching a coffee commercial.

While pregnancy hormones support the growing baby, they also help the body prepare for delivery.

The main pregnancy hormones experienced are:

  • Estrogen and progesterone are responsible for preventing the menstrual cycle during pregnancy. They also prepare the uterus for the hard work that lies ahead in the coming months.
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is referred to as the “pregnancy hormone”. In fact, when you take a pregnancy test, it detects the presence of this hormone to confirm your pregnancy.
  • Human placental lactogen (hPL) helps the new mom’s body maintain a sufficient nutritional supply for the growing child.
  • When the time comes, oxytocin triggers contractions in the uterus.
  • Relaxin is a protein hormone that the ovaries produce during pregnancy. It also helps the pelvis to relax in preparation for delivery.
  • Prolactin aids in producing breast milk.

So, how long do these postpartum hormones last? It takes three to six months for the hormone levels to regulate. Many new moms, however, feel the effects of the drastic shifts almost immediately after birth.

Postpartum Hormone Adjustments

Estrogen and progesterone assist in the body’s creation of dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals act as postpartum hormones and are vital to feeling calm and happiness after delivery.

These surging hormones, along with endorphins, produce an indescribable high when meeting your new baby. Within 48 hours to a week postpartum, many new moms experience shivers, cramps, and hot flashes. These symptoms result from drastic hormonal shifts that occur.

After delivery, progesterone and estrogen decrease rapidly. To compensate, oxytocin, responsible for the parenting instinct, increases drastically. It also encourages bonding with the baby.

This potent hormone also reduces pain from the uterine contractions experienced after delivery. If oxytocin levels are too low, however, you could face the risk of experiencing “baby blues” and postpartum depression.

Postpartum Hormones and Breastfeeding

As mentioned before, prolactin is the postpartum hormone responsible for breast milk production. The anterior pituitary gland releases this hormone to encourage the start of this important process.

During each breastfeeding session, the oxytocin released stimulates uterine contractions. This hormone also encourages the “letdown reflex” during feeding—the milk already present in the breast flows more easily for the baby to drink.

When you choose to wean your baby from breastfeeding, prolactin and oxytocin levels will drop significantly. This drop often results in feelings of sadness, irritability, and anxiety.

While these feelings are typically short-lived, you can avid them by using a gradual weaning approach.

The Postpartum Hormonal Roller Coaster

The fourth trimester isn’t only a term referring to the adjustment period for your new baby, but also for you as a new mom. Postpartum hormones regulate within different time frames for every woman. However long this change takes, it can take a toll emotionally, mentally, and physically.

The best way to survive these hormonal shifts without getting caught on the roller coaster is to plan. It’s vital to understand what to expect with these hormonal fluctuations and how to address each one.

So, what happens as postpartum hormones regulate?

Fluctuations in mood and emotions

After delivery, women experience a complex mixture of emotions and feelings. They often shift dramatically and without warning. This mix includes sadness, joy, doubt, fear, hypersensitivity, and anger.

Emotional changes are normal and can come because of life situations. They could also result from sleep deprivation and neglecting self-care.

A common concern with many new mothers is postpartum depression, anxiety, or “baby blues”. It’s essential to monitor your emotions and mental state closely during this time and seek help immediately.

Physical symptoms and hormonal contributors

During the fourth trimester, your body experiences a significant shift as it starts recovery.

While pregnant, you may have noticed that your hair looked better than ever. In response to birth, many women find that their hair falls out as the follicles die.

This hair loss doesn’t happen to everyone, but those who do experience it cannot prevent or treat it. It’s recommended to continue taking prenatal vitamins postpartum. Ideally, for as long as you continue to breastfeed.

Though unpleasant, vaginal atrophy (dryness) is a common symptom, especially for breastfeeding moms. This symptom often contributes to a reduced desire for intimacy. Along with vaginal estrogen creams, LivvNatural’s Sex Life Protocol aids in re-igniting that fire in the bedroom.

After delivery, you experience a significant hormone fluctuation, especially a drop in estrogen levels. This fluctuation could cause uncomfortable night sweats.

The best way to combat this inconvenience is to wear comfortable pajamas and boost airflow in your bedroom.

This is not a cause for concern unless you build a fever. If this occurs, you must seek medical attention immediately, as you may have a postpartum infection.

If you find yourself experiencing hot flashes, be sure to stay well hydrated. Avoid triggers like caffeine, spicy foods, and hot liquids.

The Importance of Self-Care

This new journey that you find yourself on can be scary and it brings significant changes that may be overwhelming. Never underestimate the value of self care in tackling this next chapter of your life.

Here are a few tips to help you take better care of yourself.

  • Getting enough rest may sound like an impossible task with a newborn around, but its value is often overlooked. Remember that taking good care of your infant begins with taking care of yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to accept the help offered to you. Pump some milk and have your partner, a friend, or family member take care of the baby so you can get some much needed rest.
  • While sugar is great to provide an energy boost, maintaining optimal nutrition and hydration is advised. Eat healthy fats (avocados and extra-virgin olive oil) and proteins (fish, chicken, and lean meats).

Pay attention to your health and mental state for red flags. When a lack of energy prevents you from completing tasks, for example, contact your healthcare provider.

Hormonal changes may leave you feeling blue, to some extent, but thoughts of self-harm or anger toward your baby needs immediate attention.

Balancing Postpartum Hormones

Throughout your pregnancy, your body has been through significant physical and hormonal changes to create life. Postpartum hormones are normal and beneficial to your recovery after delivery. They can also lead to unwanted symptoms, especially when not approached correctly.

Here are some tips for achieving a hormonal balance after having a baby:

  • Make healthy dietary choices and avoid processed foods. They contain simple carbohydrates, which are stored as fats and ultimately affect your hormones.

Be more conscious of what you’re eating as each food group has unique benefit

    • Fiber—helps prevent constipation, which can cause excess estrogen levels in the body.
      Healthy fats—aid in hormone regulation and help them move through the body.
    • Proteins—helps your body produce and regulate hormones.
    • Iron—helps the body fight anemia and fatigue. Maintaining sufficient iron levels also helps prevent postpartum depression symptoms from worsening.
  • Maintain a balanced diet to keep up your milk supply. Typically, consume an additional 400–500 calories each day. Remember that nutritional deficiency is a significant contributor to hormonal imbalances.
  • Ensure that you remain well hydrated. Consume enough water, fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks to prevent irritability and fatigue.
  • Get regular exercise to encourage stress relief and achieve a hormonal balance. The endorphins released are also beneficial to stabilize your mood.
  • Along with a gentle exercise like yoga, pilates, or walking, employ stress-busting exercises. Meditation and journaling are fantastic ways to reflect on the changes in your life. It gives you the opportunity to identify any triggers, if you’re having a rough time, and how to overcome it. This practice also helps you to appreciate where you are in life.
  • Seek professional advice and hormone therapy to find a balance. Through individualized assessments, you’ll receive treatment according to your specific needs.

Take the time to repay your body for how hard it worked while providing for your baby. Be more mindful of the changes experienced and what you need to recover. By making healthier efforts, you can help your postpartum hormones get back on track.


The changes that come with having a baby go far beyond a new human and the physical adjustments. It also doesn’t end once the baby is born.

Postpartum hormones could wreak havoc on your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of what to expect and how to approach each scenario.

As with any good mother, you want to provide the best care for your new baby. Just remember that your ability to care for your baby comes from your ability to care for yourself.

Do not overlook the value of self-care. Asking for help from those around you doesn’t diminish your value as a parent. Sometimes we all need a little help to get through the day…and that’s perfectly alright!

Complete our wellness questionnaire to find out how you can regain hormonal balance with LivvNatural.

Author: Dr. Jason Phan NMD – Founder of LIVV Natural – Anti-aging – regenerative medicine – peptide therapy