The Effect Of Gestational Age And Gender On Fetal And Placental Weight

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A study conducted on Wistar rats at two time points in late gestation investigating the impact of gestational age and gender on fetal and placental weight. This study demonstrated that fetal and placental weight increased significantly between days 16 and 21 of gestation whereas gender showed minimal effect on growth. Introduction Fetal development during pregnancy is predominantly related to the placenta and its function in fetal-maternal exchange (Ishikawa et al. 2006). Alterations in the interactions between the fetus and maternal uterine environment thus permit for the modification in fetal growth. In addition, the placenta also acts as an endocrine organ that produces hormones necessary for the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy as well as fetal growth and wellbeing (Malassine, Frendo & Evain-Brion 2003). Literature suggests fetal growth relies on the mobilisation of maternal nutrients, which involves placental growth hormone and that dysregulation of the hormone may have an adverse impact on fetal growth (Newbern & Freemark 2011). The placenta consists of two distinct regions, which are the junctional (JZ) and labyrinth (LZ) zones that differ in morphological and functional terms (Ishikawa et al. 2006). This complexity therefore reflects the placenta as a highly specialised unit required for the exchange of gases, nutrients and waste products between mother and fetus as alluded to earlier. The interrelationship between the fetus and placenta has been made

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