Uteroplacental Vein

FIGURE 2 Placental villi are treelike structures bathed by maternal blood in the intravillous space that is formed between the basal and chorionic plates. Insert shows twig-like terminal villi consisting of fetal capillaries encased in a sheath of syncytiotrophoblast. Heavy black arrows indicate the direction of maternal blood flow.

To accommodate the required high rates of placental perfusion, maternal cardiac output increases by about 50% at rest. This sustained high output is made possible by a profound decrease in total peripheral resistance and a 50% expansion in blood volume.

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