Hormones and lactation (Lactation hormones)
Breast growth hormones Estrogen and Human Placental Lactogen work on the growth of the breast before pregnancy. Progesterone, Prolactin, and Oxytocin are all involved during pregnancy and lactation.
During pregnancy the levels of Estrogen are higher, these levels cause the growth of the breast tissue.
Human Placental Lactogen:
Also higher during pregnancy and stimulates the growth of the breast tissue, the nipples, and areola.
This hormone causes the breast tissue to multiply but inhibits milk production. After birth, progesterone levels drop, this triggers milk production.
Prolactin and cortisol:
Prolactin makes the cells differentiate to perform their own specific role. After birth, the alveoli produce milk because of Prolactin (this hormone is sent via the hypothalamus) Prolactin can only be created after exposure to Cortisol.
Prolactin levels vary according to:
Functions of the lactation hormone Oxytocin:
Learn more about the anatomy of the human breast.
Tracy Ann Behr, CBC, CLD (CBI)
Courses on hormones of lactation through Childbirth international