In order to study the transplacental transfer of metoclopramide, and its endocrine effects, measurements were made of its concentration in maternal and fetal blood, and in the amniotic fluid, together with maternal and fetal plasma concentrations of prolactin, TSH and oestradiol, during delivery by selective Caesarean section. The drug, 10 mg, was injected i.m. 12 and 2 h and just before the onset of anaesthesia. Metoclopramide was detectable in all the umbilical arterial and venous and amniotic fluid samples, in mean concentrations of 50, 63 and 75 ng/ml, respectively. The mean ratio between the umbilical venous and maternal plasma concentrations was 0.63. Accurate maternal plasma half-lives could not be established but they must have averaged 2 to 4 h. The high amniotic fluid concentrations and relatively high umbilical venous and arterial concentrations soon after administration suggest that metoclopramide equilibrates relatively rapidly between the mother and fetus. Metoclopramide raised the maternal plasma prolactin levels from 315 +/- 128 ng/ml (SD) before therapy to 357 +/- 112 ng/ml at the time birth. No statistically significant difference in cord arterial or venous plasma prolactin levels was seen between the control and metoclopramide-treated groups. Metoclopramide did not affect maternal plasma TSH or oestradiol levels. The only change was a slight but significant increase in TSH level in cord blood taken from the umbilical artery after metoclopramide treatment.