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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The human pregnancy begins with fertilization and implantation. As the embryo evolves and develops within the uterus of the mother, the placenta is formed. The placenta is a transient organ that develops to meet and accommodate specific needs during pregnancy. Its two major functions are the exchange of nutrients and gases between the mother and fetus and its role as an endocrine unit. Through the production and release of many hormones the placenta works to regulate the many necessary physiological changes in the mother in order to maintain the pregnancy, meet the needs of the developing fetus and prepare the mother’s body for birth. The placenta releases both steroid and peptide hormones. Each hormone has specific target tissues and is used to signal a specific response. These responses work to facilitate a healthy pregnancy and a healthy outcome for the newborn.

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