Question

Endocrine System

What is human placental lactogen (hPL)?

A Answers (1)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    In a pregnant woman, the placenta produces a hormone called human placental lactogen (hPL). It's almost identical in structure to growth hormone that is present in all women, but in pregnant women, hPL can reach a thousand times the equivalent normal concentration. The job of hPL is to inhibit mom's insulin from getting glucose into her cells, thereby increasing mom's bloodstream glucose levels and making more available to her baby.

    When hPL blocks insulin's ability to transport glucose into your cells, it allows your baby to get the glucose he needs to grow. This hormonal dance - delicate and subtle as it is - ultimately influences whether your baby will achieve a target weight during pregnancy or not. And when this dance gets a little bit out of sync - oftentimes through absolutely no fault of the mom - that's when we start to see issues that can influence both the development of your baby as he grows inside of you and your baby's future health after birth.
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