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Postpartum Hormones Explained

Mother holding her newborn baby after labor in the hospital.

The period of time after giving birth is exciting and filled with lots of love and joy – but can also be a rollercoaster ride of hormones.

After giving birth, your body will produce several different postpartum hormones including estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, oxytocin, and cortisol. The hormonal changes that occur during this time can be intense, and can lead to a variety of both physical and emotional symptoms.

The experts at Copperstate are here to help you fully understand what to expect with each of these postpartum hormones, and determine what symptoms are normal, versus when it may be time to speak with your provider.


Estrogen is a hormone that plays a crucial role in the development of the female reproductive system. During pregnancy, estrogen levels increase significantly, reaching their peak in the third trimester. 

However, after childbirth, estrogen levels will drop rapidly, which can lead to a variety of physical and emotional symptoms. Most biological females will experience mood swings, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness during this time.


Progesterone is another female hormone that plays a critical role in pregnancy. It not only helps to maintain the uterine lining but also prevents the uterus from contracting prematurely. During the postpartum period, progesterone levels drop significantly just as estrogen does, which can lead to mood swings, anxiety, and feelings of depression. 

This feeling is also commonly referred to as “the baby blues”. In most cases these emotions will begin to subside in 2 weeks, however, if they last longer, or you experience any of the following, it’s important to contact your provider right away:

  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Excessive crying (from you, not the baby)
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Hopelessness
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts of self-harm or harming your baby
  • Thoughts of suicide


Prolactin is a hormone that is responsible for milk production in breastfeeding mothers. During the postpartum period, prolactin levels increase significantly, which stimulates milk production for the baby. 

Unlike estrogen and progesterone, which are associated with negative symptoms postpartum, prolactin can provide a feeling of overall well-being. It typically creates a calming effect on mothers, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety.


Oxytocin is often referred to as the “love hormone” because it is associated with feelings of bonding and attachment. During childbirth, oxytocin levels increase significantly, which helps to stimulate contractions and facilitate the birth process. 

After childbirth, oxytocin levels remain high, which can help to promote bonding between mother and baby. Similar to prolactin, oxytocin can also help to reduce stress and anxiety in new mothers.


Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress. During the postpartum period, cortisol levels can be elevated due to the physical and emotional stress of childbirth and caring for a newborn. 

High cortisol levels can lead to anxiety, depression, and fatigue, as well as health problems over time if not lowered. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can adjust your hormones postpartum and begin lowering cortisol.

Adjusting Your Postpartum Hormones

The significant and rapid hormonal changes your body experiences after giving birth can be hard to adjust to and cause disruptions to your daily routine. Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to ease the symptoms of postpartum hormones such as:

  • Eating healthy – including sufficient amounts of iron and protein-rich foods
  • Staying hydrated
  • Taking postnatal vitamins
  • Exercising
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Practicing meditation
  • Seeking help when needed

Copperstate and Postpartum Hormones

If you are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms from postpartum hormones, Copperstate is here for you!

Our practice is recognized as one of the most progressive OB/Gyn groups in Tucson, Arizona. Our expert physicians offer a number of services focused on helping you feel your best after giving birth.  Our services include annual well women exams, hormone replacement, and contraceptive counseling. 

Are you looking for an OB/Gyn you can trust to support you during and after pregnancy in the Tucson area? Let us support you in achieving true health and wellness. Call (520) 721-8605 to book your appointment today.

Adjusting your Hormones Postpartum

Your body is miraculous. It’s gone through physical and hormonal changes to bring life into the world and will continue to provide for your baby. While postpartum hormone changes are normal and expected, sometimes they can cause unwanted symptoms such as the “baby blues” or postpartum depression. Luckily, there are ways that you can help your body adjust your hormones back after giving birth, to more stable levels.

Continue reading “Adjusting your Hormones Postpartum”

Common Pregnancy Symptoms No One Talks About

You already know about pregnancy cravings, morning sickness, and even about getting stretch marks – but pregnancy involves so much more than what people normally talk about, and there can be some unpleasant symptoms during each trimester. Once the first trimester symptoms begin, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll experience the rest of the pregnancy.

No two pregnancies are exactly the same but if you’re a mom-to-be, you should be aware of some of the unpleasant pregnancy symptoms that no one talks about.

Continue reading “Common Pregnancy Symptoms No One Talks About”

UTIs in Pregnancy

woman on edge of bed with abdominal pain in her right side.

There is never a good time to get a urinary tract infection (UTI). They can be a pain to deal with – both literally and physically!

Developing a UTI during pregnancy can be even more serious because of the health risks it can pose to you and your baby. Unfortunately, pregnant women are at increased risk for UTIs starting in week 6 through week 24 because of changes in the urinary tract. 

Luckily, if you’re pregnant, there’s no reason to panic – the experts at Copperstate have created a guide to help you identify, prevent, and treat UTIs during pregnancy.

What Is a UTI?

Before diving into the specifics of UTIs, let’s start with the basics. A UTI, or urinary tract infection is an infection in any part of the urinary system. The urinary system is made up of four main parts:

  • The kidneys
  • The bladder
  • The urethra 
  • The ureters

However, most infections involve the lower urinary tract where the bladder and the urethra are located. While UTIs are most common in women, they can also affect men. 

UTIs form when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to spread in the bladder. When this happens, the bacteria may grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract, bringing along a number of unpleasant symptoms. 

What are the Symptoms of a UTI?

While not every woman will experience symptoms with a UTI, the majority that do will typically experience one or more of the following:

  • A strong urge to urinate that doesn’t go away
  • Cloudy urine
  • Burning or severe pain while urinating 
  • Blood in urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain
  • Urinating frequently, in small amounts
  • Not being able to fully empty the bladder

If a UTI goes untreated, it can also spread to the kidneys, and bring a number of more severe symptoms such as back pain, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting. 

UTIs in Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a plethora of physical changes occur in the body that can increase your risk of developing a UTI. 

For example, during pregnancy, both the composition of your urine and your immune system change, potentially leaving you more susceptible to infections. Additionally, as your baby grows, there is an increase in the amount of pressure on your bladder, which can reduce the flow of your urine and create an inviting environment for an infection to form.

How Will a UTI Affect Your Baby?

If a UTI is left untreated for an extended period of time, it can spread to the kidneys, causing more serious health risks to your baby including early labor and low birth weight. UTIs during pregnancy can also increase your risk of developing high blood pressure which can cause numerous uncomfortable symptoms.

How To Identify a UTI While Pregnant

UTIs are diagnosed with urine testing, and sometimes even ultrasounds of the kidneys. If you are experiencing any UTI symptoms at all, it’s important to call your doctor as soon as possible to ensure you can be tested and treated as quickly as possible to avoid any risks to yourself or the baby. 

However, the unfortunate reality is that 1 in 10 pregnant women with a UTI will not experience any symptoms at all. This is why going for check-ups during pregnancy, and receiving routine blood and urine testing is so more important. 

How To Treat a UTI while Pregnant

Luckily, UTIs can be treated easily and quickly with antibiotics, even during pregnancy. Doctors will typically prescribe a 3-7 day antibiotic, that will clear up the infection and help to alleviate any symptoms you are experiencing. 

Preventing UTIs while Pregnant

While there is no sure-fire way to prevent UTIs while pregnant, there are a handful of things you can do in your daily routine to help reduce your chances of developing an infection, such as:

  • Drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily
  • Cutting back on caffeine and sugar
  • Urinating before and after intercourse
  • Changing underwear frequently
  • Emptying your full bladder when urinating
  • Increasing Vitamin-C intake

Incorporating these simple steps into your daily life can help increase your likelihood of preventing an infection when exposed to bacteria.

Copperstate and UTIs During Pregnancy

Whether you are pregnant or not, Copperstate is here for you!

Our practice is recognized as one of the most progressive OB/Gyn groups in Southern Arizona. Our expert physicians offer a number of services focused on helping you feel your best and deal with infections both during and after pregnancy. Our services include annual Well Women exams, bladder infection testing, and so much more to ensure your reproductive health is always prioritized.

Are you looking for an OB/Gyn you can trust to support you during pregnancy in the Tucson area? Let us support you in achieving true health and wellness. Call (520) 721-8605 to book your appointment today.