Physiology of lactation

At puberty, the milk ducts which lead from the nipple to the secretory alveoli are stimulated by oestrogen to sprout, branch and form glandular tissue buds from which milk-secreting glands will develop (Fig. 10.2). During pregnancy, this breast tissue is further stimulated so that pre-existing alveolar-lobular structures hypertrophy and new ones areformed. At thesametimemilk-collecting ducts also undergo branching and proliferation. Both oestrogen and progesterone are necessary for mammary development in pregnancy but prolactin, growth hormone and adrenal steroids may also be involved. During pregnancy only minimal amounts of milk are formed in the breast despite high levels of the lactogenic hormones, pro-lactin and placental lactogen. This is because the actions of these lactogenic hormones are inhibited by the secretion of high levels of oestrogen and progesterone from the placenta and it is not until after delivery that copious milk production is induced.

Structure Breast Lactation
Fig. 10.2 Structure of the lactating breast.
Anterior Release Test
Fig. 10.3 Pathway of prolactin release from the anterior pituitary gland.
Getting Back Into Shape After The Pregnancy

Getting Back Into Shape After The Pregnancy

Once your pregnancy is over and done with, your baby is happily in your arms, and youre headed back home from the hospital, youll begin to realize that things have only just begun. Over the next few days, weeks, and months, youre going to increasingly notice that your entire life has changed in more ways than you could ever imagine.

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