This abrupt withdrawal of progesterone in the presence of high prolactin levels stimulates the copious milk production of Secretory Activation. It is also possible to induce lactation without pregnancy. From the eighteenth week of pregnancy the second and third trimesters , a woman's body produces hormones that stimulate the growth of the milk duct system in the breasts :. The costly investment of energy and resources into milk is outweighed by the benefit to offspring survival. The tract cells then decussate via the anterior white commissure to the anterolateral corner and ascend to the supraoptic nucleus and paraventricular nucleus in the hypothalamus , where they synapse with oxytocinergic third-order neurons. The release of the hormone oxytocin leads to the milk ejection or let-down reflex. During the latter part of pregnancy, the woman's breasts enter into the Secretory Differentiation stage. The Breastfeeding Answer Book 3rd ed.
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