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Fetus in utero

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Understand the anatomy of the uterus, placenta and placental tissues during the fetal period.
  2. Identify the main structural and vascular features of the placenta.
  3. Appreciate the relations between the fetal layers, reproductive organs and other structures of the female pelvis.

Browse atlas

The fetus is a term that describes an unborn baby from the 8th week after fertilization until birth. In the uterus (i.e. in utero) the fetus is surrounded by an amniotic sac, a membranous sac which provides protection to the fetus.

The placenta is a temporary organ for gas, nutrient and substance exchange between mother and fetus. This exchange is mediated by the umbilical cord, a structure developed from the fetal tissue. It contains one vein and two arteries, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and waste products away from it.

With our atlas you can explore all structures surrounding the fetus in utero, as well as the structural and vascular components of the placenta.

Take a quiz

Test your knowledge about the fetus, placenta and female reproductive organs by taking our quiz: 

If you feel like a pro, try out our custom quiz to get a broader quiz on the female pelvis and the reproductive system. 


Key facts about the placenta
Definition Placenta is a highly specialized, temporary organ that develops as a conduit between maternal and fetal tissues. 
Portions  Fetal portion: chorion frondosum
Maternal portion
: basal decidua
Functions Exchange of metabolic and gaseous products between maternal and fetal bloodstreams, production of hormones.

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