The Placenta: An Overview

  • Joseph Dancis


A unique feature of mammalian reproduction is the prolonged protective period afforded to the young, which often extends for years after birth. During the earliest stages of critical development, maximum protection is given by retaining the fetus within the mother. Intrauterine pregnancy marked a major evolutionary departure from previous modes of reproduction, requiring anatomic and physiologic adjustments on the part of the mother and fetus. The development of the placenta by the fetus is unique among these adjustments in that the sole function of this organ is to make intrauterine pregnancy possible.


Chorionic Villus Fetal Circulation Intrauterine Pregnancy Book Medical Publisher Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate 
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    Beer, A. E., and Billingham, R. E., 1974, Immunologic coexistence in the maternal-fetal relationship, in: Modern Perinatal Medicine (L. Gluck, ed.), Year Book Medical Publishers, Chicago.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Dancis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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