Plasma prolactin has been measured in over 3,500 women volunteers from a normal population. In premenopausal women there was a significant decrease in prolactin levels with increasing parity. However, this effect was transitory since plasma prolactin concentration rose with increasing time after the birth of the last child. There were no significant differences in prolactin levels with respect to height and weight, although overweight compared to underweight women had approximately 15% more plasma prolactin. If prolactin is a carcinogen, then these results are in keeping with the epidemiological findings that multiparity affords protection and that age at last delivery is a risk factor in the development of breast cancer.