Obstetrics & gynaecology

New evidence supports the presence of microbes in the placenta

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine previously found evidence that the placenta harbors a sparse but still present community of microorganisms, which they and other researchers speculate may contribute to key functions ...

Genetics

Fetal genome involved in triggering premature birth

Mutations in the gene that codes for SLIT2, a protein expressed in fetal cells in placentas and involved in directing the growth of the fetal nervous system, may contribute to premature births, possibly by activating the ...

Obstetrics & gynaecology

Maternal microbes mediate diet-derived damage

New research in The Journal of Physiology has found, using a mouse model, that microbes in the maternal intestine may contribute to impairment of the gut barrier during pregnancy.

Obstetrics & gynaecology

Artificial womb technology breaks its four minute mile

A major advancement in pioneering technology based around the use of an artificial womb to save extremely premature babies is being hailed as a medical and biotechnological breakthrough. Recently published in the American ...

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Placenta

The placenta is an organ unique to mammals that connects the developing fetus to the uterine wall. The placenta supplies the fetus with oxygen and food, and allows fetal waste to be disposed of via the maternal kidneys. The word placenta comes from the Latin for cake, from Greek plakóenta/plakoúnta, accusative of plakóeis/plakoús - πλακόεις, πλακούς, "flat, slab-like", referring to its round, flat appearance in humans. Protherial (egg-laying) and metatherial (marsupial) mammals produce a choriovitelline placenta that, while connected to the uterine wall, provides nutrients mainly derived from the egg sac. The placenta develops from the same sperm and egg cells that form the fetus, and functions as a fetomaternal organ with two components, the fetal part (Chorion frondosum), and the maternal part (Decidua basalis).

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