CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Hormones in pregnancy. Cutaway artwork of a pregnant woman showing the function of various hormones during pregnancy. An enlarged view of a sectioned human brain in the background shows the brain structures involved, which include the amygdala and hippocampus (orange lumpy areas) and the medial preoptic area (MPOA, blue), which is part of the hypothalamus. The hormone oxytocin (blue arrows) is formed in and released by the hippocampus. As well as affecting the amygdala, oxytocin acts to facilitate breastfeeding (shown here) and is also released during childbirth. The hormones oestrogen and progesterone (red arrows) are shown being produced by the ovaries and placenta respectively, and acting on the brain.
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