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The Role of Estrogen (Oestrogen)
Estrogen is the name given to a family of ovarian hormones which all have similar characteristics. During the female menstruation cycle, the production of estrogen is controlled by the hormone LH (Leutenising Hormone) both indirectly and
As with progesterone, estrogen is produced by the placenta throughout a pregnancy and the levels increase steadily until birth.
Each hormone plays a vital and complex role during a pregnancy and many of them interact with each other to stimulate various parts of the process.
One role of estrogen during pregnancy is to regulate the production of progesterone over the full term. As estrogen is produced by the placenta, progesterone production is stimulated and regulated.
Apart from this, estrogen plays a very important role in the development of the foetus. Without estrogen, the lungs, kidneys, liver, adrenal glands and other organs would never be triggered into maturation. In fact, the placenta itself would never grow and operate properly if not for estrogen.
The following list shows some other known jobs undertaken by estrogen:
Triggers the maturation of reproductive organs
Help in the development of sexual characteristics
Assists in the lactation process
Regulates bone density in a foetus
Maintains the endometrium during pregnancy
Promotes blood flow within the uterus
Maintains, regulates and triggers the production of other hormones
Protects female foetuses from the effects of androgens in the mother's system. (Androgens are substances that have a masculinising effect).
The main external effect on women of the increased levels of estrogen during a pregnancy is the appearance of rashes or red blotches on the skin. It is this effect that is often described as the 'glow' of pregnancy.
1. Progesterone production
2. The role of progesterone
3. The role of estrogen (oestrogen)
4. Summary of some other hormones
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