Lactation is the production, secretion and yielding of milk by the hormone-prepared mammary glands, or the breasts. Preparation for lactation begins during early pregnancy, when increased production of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone leads to the storage of maternal energy in the form of fat. Rising levels of (placental) oestrogens, progesterone, and lactogen toward the end of pregnancy stimulate the hypothalamus to release prolactin-releasing hormone (PRH), and the anterior pituitary gland responds by secreting prolactin.
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