hPL or human placental lactogen, also known as hCS (human chorionic somatomammotropin), is a pregnancy hormone produced by your placenta. It is very similar to the human growth hormones normally present in your body and has a very important role in the nourishment of your baby.
Firstly, hPL inhibits the ability of your cells to take up insulin, thereby increasing your blood glucose levels so that your baby can receive all the nutrition and energy she needs to grow and develop. If you have low hPL levels your baby will probably have a low birth weight, because she wouldn’t have received all the nourishment she required during your pregnancy. However, hPL is not present in your body at very high levels and some mothers even have undetectable levels.
Secondly, hPL helps your body to prepare for lactation. It causes the secretion of colostrum, a substance that your breasts will secrete before they begin lactating real milk. This is a very important step to ensure breastfeeding your baby is possible.
What does hPL do to your body?
- It can affect how much fatigue you experience as it alters your blood glucose levels.
- It can cause gestational diabetes between week 20 and week 24 of pregnancy if your pancreas does not release enough insulin to equal out hPL’s insulin inhibition activity. The relationship between insulin and hPL is a very tricky two-step, but most times your body will make sure everything goes well.