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The oval or discoid spongy structure in the uterus which is the fetus derives its
nourishment and oxygen.
The placenta consists of a fetal portion, the chorion part, bearing many chorionic villi
that interlock with the deciduas basalis of uterus, which constitutes the maternal
portion. The chorionic villi lie in spaces in the uterine endometrium, where they are
bathed in maternal blood and lymph. Groups of villi are separated by placental septa
forming about 20 distinct lobules called cotyledons.
Attached to the margin of the placenta is a membrane that encloses embryo. It is a
composite of several structures (decidua parietalis, decidua capsularis, chorion laeve,
and amnion.) At the center of the concave side is attached the umbilical cord through
which the umbilical vessels (two arteries and one vein) pass to the fetous. The cord is
approximate 50 cm (20 in.) long at full term.
The mature placenta is 15- 18 cm (6- 7 inch) in diameter and weighs a 450 gm.
Maternal blood enters the intervillous spaces of the placenta through spiral arteries,
branches of the uterine arteries. It bathes the chorionic villi and flows peripherally to the
marginal sinus, which leads to uterine veins. Food molecules, oxygen, and antibodies
pass into fetal blood of the villi metabolic waste products pass from fetal blood into the
mother's blood. Normally, there is no admixture of fetal and maternal blood.
The placenta is also an endocrine organ. It produces chorionic gonadotropins, the
presence of which in urine is the basis of one type of pregnancy test. Estrogen and
progesterone are also secreted by the placenta.

Umbilical cord
Umbilical cord is the attachment connecting the fetus with the placenta.
It contains two arteries and one vein surrounded by a gelatinous substance, Wharton's
The umbilical arteries carry blood from the fetus to the placenta, where nutrients are
obtained and carbon dioxide and oxygen are exchanged; this oxygenated blood returns
to the fetus through the umbilical vein.
The cord is approximate 50 cm (20 in.) long at full term.
The umbilical cord is surgically severed after the birth of the child. To give the infant a
better blood supply, the cord should not be cut or tied until the umbilical vessels have
ceased pulsating. However, in preterm infants, the cord should be clamped and cut
before pulsation ceases to avoid maternal newborn transfusion and reduce the risk of
hypovolemia, polycythemia, and hyperbilirubinemia.
The stump of the severed cord atrophies and leaves a depression on the abdomen of the
child, called a navel or umbilicus.