Fetal Endocrinology

Most of the hormones produced in postnatal animals are produced in the fetus. Timing of appearance of individual hormones in fetal circulation is hormone-specific. Most hormones have the same actions in the fetus and postnatal animal, but their effectiveness is often reduced. Hormones of the anterior pituitary gland attain maximal concentrations in the fetus near the middle of the last third of pregnancy and then decline with development of feedback systems. While the endocrine system develops and becomes competent during fetal life, hormonal secretion is less dynamic, or episodic, than postnatally, possibly a reflection of the constancy of the intrauterine environment.

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