Normative Values and Tables

  • Kurt Benirschke
  • Peter Kaufmann


Quantitative structural and biochemical data concerning pregnancy, placental development, and composition of the term placenta are given in Tables 28.1 to 28.10. When examining the tables on placental morphometry and comparing the results from different authors, it is important to note that quantitative structural data are heavily influenced by the mode of sampling and by the preparation of the material. Because of the high degree of maternal and fetal vascularization, the placenta reacts immediately to changes in intravascular pressure. Thus, the mode of birth, the time elapsing from cessation of maternal and fetal blood flows to tissue fixation (see Tables 28.6–28.10), and the nature of cord clamping (see Table 28.8) directly influence the volumetric relations of villi and intervillous space. In particular, parameters such as the width of fetal vessels, degree of fetal vascularization, maternofetal diffusion distance, and trophoblastic thickness are easily affected. Moreover, the composition of the fixative and its osmolarity (see Table 28.10), as well as the mode of fixation (immersion versus perfusion fixation) are of importance. Normally, immersion fixation of the entire placenta or of small pieces is used. The more advanced methods, such as perfusion fixation (Burton et al., 1987) or puncture biopsy of the still maternally perfused placenta during cesarean section (Schweikhart and Kaufmann, 1977; Voigt et al., 1978; Sen et al., 1979), are time-consuming. When studying immersion fixed material, however, one should keep in mind that this material differs quantitatively and qualitatively from the in vivo conditions (see Tables 28.6, 28.9).


Human Placenta Placental Weight Perfusion Fixation Term Human Placenta Fetal Vessel 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt Benirschke
    • 1
  • Peter Kaufmann
    • 2
  1. 1.University Medical CenterUniversity of California, San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Institut für Anatomie der Medizinischen FakultätRheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule AachenAachenGermany

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