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A Cow Calving

Course video 69 of 173

The peripartum period, the time shortly before, during, and after giving birth, is a time of rapid changes in the mammary gland, the mother, and the neonate. Extensive physiological coordination occurs between the processes leading up to and giving birth, the formation of colostrum, the initiation of lactation in the mammary gland, and the subsequent removal of milk by the neonate. In this module, we explore how the mammary gland changes around the time of giving birth when the gland transitions from a non-lactating to a lactating state. Part of this transition is the production of colostrum, the first mammary secretion produced by the gland after giving birth. Another part of the transition is the changing regulation of mammary gland function from one being driven primarily by hormones associated with pregnancy and parturition to one where milk removal, by the neonate or milking machine, is the driving force in gland function after birth. In this module, we examine some basic characteristics of the neonate, how lactation is initiated (lactogenesis), and the formation and special components of colostrum (immunoglobulins) and their impact on the neonate.

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