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Plasma prolactin concentrations after caesarean section or vaginal delivery
  1. Lindsay Heasmana,
  2. John A D Spencerb,
  3. Michael E Symondsa
  1. aSchool of Animal and Microbial Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, Berks, bDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Northwick Park Hospital NHS Trust
  1. Dr Michael E Symonds, Department of Child Health, Queen’s Medical Centre, University Hospital, Nottingham NG7 2UH.


The umbilical venous plasma prolactin concentrations of three groups of term infants were compared immediately after birth. Samples were taken following seven vaginal deliveries, eight emergency caesarean sections performed during labour, and 12 elective caesarean sections before labour. Mean concentrations of prolactin were significantly lower in the elective caesarean section group compared with the labour groups. This result indicates that the fetal hypothalamic–pituitary axis is stimulated during labour which could explain the increase in plasma prolactin concentrations at birth.

  • caesarean section
  • labour
  • prolactin

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