The physical substance of any organism is its body. The body comprises millions of living cells and extracellular material. The matter inside has further organization and is categorized into different systems.
Every cell inside the living body has a specific function and role to perform. Other regulators assist every function.
- Hormones are chemical messengers produced by the endocrine glands that regulate various bodily functions, while pregnancy carries a developing embryo or fetus within the female body.
- Hormones play a crucial role in pregnancy by regulating various physiological processes such as ovulation, implantation, and fetal growth and development.
- Pregnancy involves significant hormonal changes in the body, including increased progesterone and estrogen levels.
Hormones vs Pregnancy
The difference between hormones and pregnancy is that hormones are chemical molecules that act as signalling messengers in the body while pregnancy refers to the period during which an offspring develops inside the womb of a mother. The function of hormones is to regulate various behavioural and physiological characteristics, while the function of pregnancy is to produce offspring.
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Hormone signalling type can be divided into four major types – Endocrine, Paracrine, Autocrine, and Intracrine.
Some major hormones are Testosterone, progesterone, cortisol, insulin, oxytocin, adrenaline, prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, thyroid hormone, and various other types.
While pregnancy, also known as the gestation period, can be of the following types – Intrauterine pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, intraabdominal pregnancy, tubal pregnancy, singlet pregnancy, multiple pregnancy, lupus pregnancy, high-risk pregnancy, and molar pregnancy.
|Parameters of Comparison||Hormones||Pregnancy|
|Definition||Hormones are chemical molecules that act as signaling messengers in the body||Pregnancy is the period during which an offspring develops inside the womb of a mother|
|Other names||Chemical messengers||Gestation period|
|Types||Three main types – Lipid derived, an amino acid derived and peptide||Intrauterine pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, intraabdominal pregnancy, tubal pregnancy, singlet pregnancy, multiple pregnancies, lupus pregnancy, high-risk pregnancy, and molar pregnancy|
|Causes||As a response to particular biochemical signal||Due to sexual intercourse or assisted reproductive technology|
|Results or outcomes||Results in the regulation of various behavioral and physiological characteristics||Results in a live birth, stillbirth, induced abortion, or a miscarriage|
What is Hormones?
Hormones are chemical molecules that act as signalling messengers in the body. They transport and travel in the bloodstream to distant tissues and organs.
Hormones play a vital role in regulating various behavioural and physiological characteristics. Hormones travel from their site of production to their site of action. Hormones are produced in multi-cellular organisms.
In 1847, Arnold Adolph Berthold discovered the hormone testosterone as a chemical factor. In 1880, Charles and Frances
Darwin studied young plants and their movement, discovered the hormone auxin, and called it a transmissible substance. Hormone signalling type can be divided into four major types – Endocrine, Paracrine, Autocrine, and Intracrine.
Hormones bind to particular receptor proteins and affect the distant target cell, which usually produces a change in the target cell’s function.
During hormone binding, a signal transduction pathway is activated that further activates gene transcription. The pathway of hormones is rapid and non-genomic.
Invertebrates, the hormone-secreting specialized organs, are endocrine glands. The hormones are secreted as a response to a particular biochemical signal. It follows a process of negative feedback regulation.
Some hormones are active and are directly released in the bloodstream through fenestrated capillaries, while some hormones, like prohormones, are activated in the particular target cell after following a series of regulated activation steps.
Some hormones are also secreted in ducts, while some diffuse and travel through the interstitial spaces. Plants, on the other hand, do not have any specialized organs for producing hormones.
What is Pregnancy?
Pregnancy refers to the period during which an offspring develops inside the womb of a mother. The process of pregnancy can be through sexual intercourse or other procedures like assisted reproductive technology.
A mother can produce single or multiple offspring at a time, known as multiple pregnancies.
Pregnancy can lead to living birth, stillbirth, induced abortion, or a miscarriage. The period of pregnancy usually lasts around 40 weeks or over 9 months.
The various common symptoms experienced during the early stages of pregnancy are missed menstrual periods, nausea, constant hunger, vomiting, tender breasts, frequent urination, constant sickness, and several other symptoms.
The pregnancy period can be divided into three trimesters, including 3 months each. The first trimester is conception, during which fertilization occurs.
The embryo is highly vulnerable during the first trimester, and the risk of miscarriage is the highest. During the second trimester, the fetus grows, and its movement can be felt. During the third trimester, most of the vital organs are formed.
During ideal childbirth, the mother experiences intense labour pain. The ideal period is between 39 to 41 weeks, and babies born before that period are considered as “early term”, while those born after that period are considered “late-term”.
Prenatal medical care is essential to minimize every risk of complication during pregnancy. Regular physical examinations and blood tests are essential during the gestation period.
Main Differences Between Hormones and Pregnancy
- Hormones are chemical molecules that act as signalling messengers, while pregnancy is the period of growth of an offspring inside the womb of a mother.
- Hormones can affect sleep cycles, heart rate, metabolism, growth, appetite, and reproduction, while pregnancy can affect menstrual periods, mood, energy, gums, digestion process.
- Hormones are found in all multicellular organisms, while pregnancy can occur only in female organisms with a uterus and ovaries.
- Hormones are produced and secreted in the bloodstream and ducts or diffuse through interstitial space, while delivery in pregnancy can be through natural childbirth or Cesarean surgery (C-section).
- Hormones can be tested through blood tests, while pregnancy can be tested through a urine test or blood test.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.