Hormonal Changes in Pregnancy as Indicators of Fetoplacental Function
This chapter deals with the wide subject of hormonal changes in pregnancy. It reviews the subject of blood hormones as they apply to monitoring fetal well-being. Growing interest, however, in adapting new hormonal methods for monitoring intrauterine fetal well-being has resulted in an array of new information. The placenta and fetal liver both participate in the formation of E3 and E4. Both are produced by the fetoplacental unit. Serum placental lactogen estimations may be useful in assessing placental function. Since fetal well-being depends largely upon normal placental function, this test may also reflect fetal status. Determination of hormones in blood may not be always ideal. A single hormone blood determination may occasionally be misleading if there are marked minute-to-minute' or hour-to-hour fluctuations in its plasma concentrations. Urinary measurements may be more meaningful, however, in that they would indicate the average hormone secretion for the entire period.