The function of the relaxin hormone is to help the birth process by softening and lengthening of the cervix. Additionally, it relaxes the pubic symphysis, the cartilaginous joint in the pubic bones. This allows the pubic bone to spread and allow the baby to pass through the birth canal. In pregnancy, relaxin is released by the placenta.
While the benefits of relaxin have been known for childbirth for some time, it has recently been discovered that the hormone is essential in other ways. In men the hormone is secreted through the prostate and has an impact on sperm mobility.
Findings show that relaxin is responsible for the regulation of other hormones and aids in kidney function. As of 2014, there has been success in using relaxin to treat the skin condition scleroderma.
Studies indicate that relaxin has an impact on improvement on stroke victims and those with peripheral artery disease. In these studies, an oral procine version of relaxin was used. Research also indicates that there is patient improvement with little to no risks of the treatment. The primary and most well-known benefits are related to pregnancy; however, research continues to show the importance of this hormone applied to other functions.