An inhibitor of 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) activity was administered to sheep in late pregnancy. A rapid fall in plasma progesterone concentrations followed, associated with premature delivery by all animals 44±3 h (s.e.m.) after administration of inhibitor. A significant (about twofold) increase in plasma concentrations of oestradiol-17β was detected immediately before delivery. These results demonstrate, in contrast to previous reports, that 3β-HSD inhibitors have the capacity consistently to induce premature delivery associated with increased oestrogen release in sheep.