Inducing Lactation Medical Concerns

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What is Prolactin?

Prolactin (PRL) is a pituitary hormone that stimulates breast milk production in women after childbirth. It also supports the immune system, mental health, and metabolism in both sexes.[1]

Normal Levels

Nonpregnant women 4-23 ng/mL (mcg/L)
Pregnant women 34-386 ng/mL (mcg/L)

In women, prolactin slightly varies depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, levels increase and can reach up to 20x the normal values before childbirth. [1]

What Does Changing Your Prolactin Levels Do?

Prolactin levels rise during pregnancy in response to estrogen stimulation, and they can get 10-20 times higher than usual (up to 500 ng/mL). [1]

After childbirth (or by inducing lactation), high prolactin levels enables women to make breast milk. [1]

Once the nursing begins, suckling becomes the primary stimulus for prolactin secretion and maintains milk production; nipple and breast stimulation cause prolactin spikes during breastfeeding. [1]

Additional causes for high prolactin levels include [2]:

  • Pituitary tumors (prolactinomas)
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Medicines given for depression, psychosis, and high blood pressure
  • Herbs, including fenugreek, fennel seeds, and red clover
  • Irritation of the chest wall (from surgical scars, shingles, or even a too-tight bra)
  • Stress or exercise (usually excessive or extreme)
  • Certain foods
  • Nipple stimulation

Elevated prolactin (hyperprolactinemia) can reduce fertility and libido.[1]

High levels of prolactin in women may also cause:

  • Irregular cycles/fertility issues
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Painful or uncomfortable intercourse [3]
  • Fatigue
  • Acne
  • Headaches
  • Hot flashes [3]

More Information

See also the Stargate Library's article on ANR.

Some couples practice ABF in order to strengthen their relationship. Read for yourself a few ANR testimonials and stories or watch videos of couples practicing adult breastfeeding. (warning:NSFW)

Reach out to others by using our ANR/ABF online communities list page to seek others who are in this lifestyle.

See the Inducing Lactation Resources page if you're interested in starting lactation without a pregnancy, for an ANR, or for your partner.


Frequently Asked Questions
About Inducing Lactation


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Self Decode Labs: Prolactin Blood Test: Normal Range + High & Low Levels
  2. Hyperprolactinemia (High Prolactin Levels)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Very Well Health - Symptoms of High Prolactin Hormone Levels