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DEV2011: Lecture 21 summary

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Monash University

LECTURE 21 Function of the Placenta: The placenta’s primary role is to ensure that oxygen is moved into your baby’s blood stream and carbon dioxide is carried away from your baby – however the waste is not limited to oxygen and also includes cleaning out other waste which is produced by your baby. In the same way that it ensures oxygen reaches your baby, it also plays a role in ensuring that some nutrients are received. The placenta is an extremely complex piece of biological equipment. It is a little bit like an artificial kidney, it allows your blood and the baby's to come into very close contact - but without ever mixing. This enables your blood to pass across nutrients and oxygen to the baby, and waste products like carbon dioxide to go back from baby to mother. It acts as the lung, kidney and digestive system for the baby. The placenta also plays an important role in hormone production. Human chronic gonadotropin, or hCG is produced by the placenta. This hormone can be found in your baby’s blood stream as early as 10 days into your pregnancy. This is of course not the only hormone which the placenta produces as it is also responsible for the production of estrogen and progesterone . Placental Factors Affecting Fetal Growth: Placental factors include: - Size - Microstructure (densities and architecture) - Umbilical blood flow - Transporters and binding proteins - Nutrient utilization - Nutrient production Preterm Birt
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