Introduction

Pregnancy imposes a metabolic burden on female mammals that increases with advancing gestation to a degree that is related directly to rate of conceptus growth scaled for maternal size. To accommodate the increasing nutrient demands of the fetus(es) and nonfetal conceptus tissues, the dam makes a series of coordinated metabolic adjustments in various nonuterine tissues to ensure that fetal nutrition is relatively unaffected by moderate variations in maternal nutrient intake. The homeorhetic regulation and coordination of these adaptations will be discussed. Most examples are from domestic ruminants but the general principles apply to other mammalian species.

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