Indian Journal of Radiology Indian Journal of Radiology  

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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 326-344
Fetal environment

Department of Ultrasound, K.E.M. Hospital, Jehangir Hospital, Pune, India

Correspondence Address:
Arun Kinare
S., 892, Bhandarkar Rd, Lane Opp. Hotel Oakwood, Pune-411 004
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-3026.43848

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The intrauterine environment has a strong influence on pregnancy outcome. The placenta and the umbilical cord together form the main supply line of the fetus. Amniotic fluid also serves important functions. These three main components decide whether there will be an uneventful pregnancy and the successful birth of a healthy baby. An insult to the intrauterine environment has an impact on the programming of the fetus, which can become evident in later life, mainly in the form of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain learning disabilities. The past two decades have witnessed major contributions from researchers in this field, who have included ultrasonologists, epidemiologists, neonatologists, and pediatricians. Besides being responsible for these delayed postnatal effects, abnormalities of the placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid also have associations with structural and chromosomal disorders. Population and race also influence pregnancy outcomes to some extent in certain situations. USG is the most sensitive imaging tool currently available for evaluation of these factors and can offer considerable information in this area. This article aims at reviewing the USG-related developments in this area and the anatomy, physiology, and various pathologies of the placenta, umbilical cord, and the amniotic fluid.

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