It is generally agreed that a considerable part of the physiological changes taking place in the human organism during pregnancy are due to changes in internal secretion. Although these changes seem to involve many hormones. the hormones most extensively studied in this respect are those which occur in abundance during pregnancy, thus human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), the principal gestational hormone, progesterone and oestrogens.
The endocrinology of gestation is characterized by marked species differences. No direct inferences can therefore be made from the results obtained in animal experiments as to the situation in the human. Thus for instance the human seems to be the only species, in which chorionic gonadotrophin can be demonstrated throughout pregnancy. Hence our present knowledge as to the endocrinology of human gestation is mainly – although not entirely – based on different clinical and laboratory observations obtained during normal as well as various pathological forms of pregnancy.
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