Transrectal color Doppler sonography was used to investigate uterine and umbilical blood flow during pregnancy (duration, 46-48 weeks) in four mares. The resistance index (RI) and blood flow volume (VOL) of the uterine arteries ipsilateral and contralateral to the conceptus, and the presence of an early diastolic notch in the Doppler wave, were evaluated every 4 week throughout pregnancy. Fetal blood flow was calculated semiquantitatively every 2 week (from 20 to 40 weeks), using the RI of the umbilical arteries. During the entire period of investigation, there were no significant individual variations in uterine RI and VOL nor differences between the two uterine arteries. Mean RI decreased by more than half during pregnancy from 0.89 +/- 0.01 to 0.39 +/- 0.03, and mean VOL increased almost 400-fold from 69 +/- 37 to 27,467 +/- 8851 ml/min. There were relationships (P<0.0001) between week of pregnancy (x) and RI as well as VOL. These were described by the equations RI=0.938-0.150 ln(x) and VOL (ml/min)=7.621x(2.157). Log transformed total estrogen (TE) were related to RI (r=-0.879; P<0.05) as well as to VOL (r=0.888; P<0.05). The notch in the Doppler wave of the uterine artery disappeared between 18 and 26 weeks. There was a correlation (P<0.0001) between week of gestation (x) and RI values of the umbilical arteries; this was described by the equation RI=1.763-0.071x+0.001x2. Further studies are needed to determine whether transrectal color Doppler sonography could be used to identify mares at risk of abortion.