Preparing for Pregnancy

Important Hormones in Fertility

Pregnant woman in yellow dress sitting on the ground. Partners arms around her belly. Hormones important for fertility.

The word “hormones” gets used a lot. You’ve likely heard a person blame a breakout or their mood on their hormones at some point in time. Even though you may refer to hormones in general, you may not fully understand the important roles that hormones play in your body. This is understandable because the interactions of hormones are complicated! 

Even so, it can be helpful to have a general understanding of the purpose of hormones in the body. This is especially true if you are trying to conceive or if you are already pregnant. 

This article will define hormones and provide a summary of important hormones in fertility. This will help you better navigate conversations about hormones when it comes to conception and pregnancy.


What are Hormones?

Hormones are chemical substances in your body that act as messengers. They are made in one part of the body, then travel to other parts of the body to help control how cells and organs work (1). Lots of hormones are involved in regulating the human body, but only a few play an important role in fertility.


What Hormones are Involved in Fertility?

There are four key hormones involved in your fertility:

    1. Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
    2. Luteinising Hormone (LH)
    3. Oestradiol (oestrogen)
    4. Progesterone (2)


What do Hormones do?

All these hormones are involved in your menstrual cycle, and the purpose of your menstrual cycle is to prepare your body for pregnancy. However, these hormones all influence your body differently at various times during your cycle. Below is a general summary of the four hormones involved in fertility.   

    • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) causes the growth and maturation of an egg in the ovary. It also stimulates the release of estrogen and leads to physical changes in the uterus at the beginning of the menstrual cycle (2). 
    • Luteinising hormone (LH) stimulates ovulation, or the release of an egg from the ovary (2).  
    • Estrogen supports the functioning of the uterus. It thickens the uterine wall during your menstrual cycle. A thickened uterine lining, called endometrium, is important because it allows the fertilized egg to easily implant in the uterus. This helps the body in sustaining pregnancy (2). 
    • Progesterone prepares the uterus for a fertilized egg and to maintain a pregnancy. It also stimulates growth of a fertilized egg. Lastly, it stimulates buildup of the uterine lining during your menstrual cycle (2).


Final Notes from The Nest

It’s not uncommon to hear the word “hormones” used in general conversations, or discussions specific to conception and pregnancy. Therefore, understanding what hormones are involved in fertility can be helpful as you prepare for pregnancy. 

For more information on fertility and trying to conceive check out our other articles on improving egg health and foods that support fertility

If you would like to learn more about navigating preconception and pregnancy nutrition, visit Our Services page and Book a Consult with one of our Registered Dietitians.


Article Written by Natalie Johnston

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  1. Nemours KidsHealth [Internet]. Florida: The Nemours Foundation; c1995-2022 [cited 2022 Apr 18]. Definition: Hormones (for Teens); [1 screen]. Available from:
  2. Brown, JE. Nutrition through the life cycle. 7th ed. Boston: Cengage, 2019. 586 p.