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Pregnancy Physiology: Effects on Immune and Nervous Systems 

Pregnancy Physiology: Effects on Immune and Nervous Systems
Chapter:
Pregnancy Physiology: Effects on Immune and Nervous Systems
Author(s):

Lauren A. Miller

, and Mary N. Towner

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190667351.003.0004
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date: 01 October 2020

This chapter discusses the complex physiologic changes that take place in the immune and nervous system of the pregnant patient. Shifts in cellular production and function as well as the dramatic alterations in hormone concentrations observed in pregnancy are described. The chapter also reviews the current understanding of the major gestational hormones’ roles within the immune and nervous system. We will also summarize the current state of knowledge regarding the physiologic effects of pregnancy, focusing on the effects of estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin on the female immune system and central and peripheral nervous systems. Whenever possible, the clinical relevance of such immunologic and neurologic adaptations to pregnancy will be highlighted.

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