Metabolic Physiology in Pregnancy

J Pak Med Assoc. 2016 Sep;66(9 Suppl 1):S8-S10.


The metabolic physiology during pregnancy is unique in the life of women. This change is a normal physiological adaptation to better accommodate the foetal growth and provides adequate blood, nutrition and oxygen. The metabolic changes prepare the mother\'s body for pregnancy, childbirth and lactation. Early gestational period is considered as an anabolic phase, in which female body stores nutrients, enhance insulin sensitivity to encounter the maternal and feto-placental demands of late gestation and lactation. However, late gestational period is better named as a catabolic phase with reduced insulin sensitivity. The placenta plays a role as a sensor between mother and foetus physiology and acclimatizes the needs of the foetus to adequate growth and development. During pregnancy the female body changes its physiological and homeostatic mechanisms to meet the physiological needs of the foetus. However, if the maternal metabolic physiology during pregnancy is disturbed, it can cause hormonal imbalance, fat accumulation, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased insulin resistance and even gestational diabetes mellitus.

Keywords: Pregnancy, Metabolic changes, Physiological changes..

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes, Gestational*
  • Female
  • Fetal Development
  • Humans
  • Insulin
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Placenta / physiology*
  • Pregnancy / physiology*


  • Insulin