Maternal Development

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Relative fetal sizes

While this site focusses on human prenatal development, one major impact on this process are those associated with maternal changes during pregnancy.

Maternal Links: Genetic risk maternal age | Placenta - Maternal Decidua | maternal diabetes | maternal hyperthermia | maternal inflammation | hypertension | Category:Maternal
Environmental Links: Introduction | low folic acid | iodine deficiency | Nutrition | Drugs | Australian Drug Categories | USA Drug Categories | thalidomide | herbal drugs | Illegal Drugs | smoking | Fetal Alcohol Syndrome | TORCH | viral infection | bacterial infection | fungal infection | zoonotic infection | toxoplasmosis | Malaria | maternal diabetes | maternal hypertension | maternal hyperthermia | Maternal Inflammation | Maternal Obesity | hypoxia | biological toxins | chemicals | heavy metals | air pollution | radiation | Prenatal Diagnosis | Neonatal Diagnosis | International Classification of Diseases | Fetal Origins Hypothesis
Historic Embryology - Maternal  

Some Recent Findings

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Placenta-Maternal Neuroendocrine

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Placental regulation of maternal neuroendocrine and neural function.[2]

Placentally produced steroid hormones determine forward maternal planning by directing/orchestrating maternal physiology and postnatal maternalism to synchronize with the development of the fetus.

Maternal Anatomy

There are many maternal physiological changes during and after pregnancy. This section introduces just the anatomical changes that must occur to simply accomodate the growing fetus.

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Make Room for Baby! (2017)


The Position of the Uterus and Fetus at Term (1872).[3]

Links: MP4 | Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago - Make Room for Baby! | YouTube


By end of embryonic period maternal cardiac output has increased by 20% and will eventually increase by about 40% during the entire pregnancy. The cardiac output is increased by both stroke volume and an increase in the maternal heart rate.

Along with these cardiac changes there is also a 25–30% fall in systemic vascular resistance due to peripheral vasodilation. The fall in vascular resistance also impacts upon renal function.





Maternal Mortality

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WHO map maternal mortality ratio (2015)

Links: Statistics - Maternal Mortality


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  2. <pubmed>25404322</pubmed>
  3. Braune W. An atlas of topographical anatomy after plane sections of frozen bodies. (1877) Trans. by Edward Bellamy. Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston.



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Search Pubmed: human maternal development | maternal physiology | Second Trimester | Third Trimester

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, April 20) Embryology Maternal Development. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G