It is not just the thickness and exact histological nature of the placental barrier that defines the rate of diffusional exchange. Another important determinant is the direction of the blood flows of mother and fetus in relation to each other. The vascular arrangement of the human placenta cannot be clearly defined due to the branching of the vil-lous trees into all directions and a respective maternal blood flow somehow bypassing these branches. Therefore, this unpredictable and variable flow pattern has been termed multivillous flow (Fig. 3.1d).
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Once your pregnancy is over and done with, your baby is happily in your arms, and youre headed back home from the hospital, youll begin to realize that things have only just begun. Over the next few days, weeks, and months, youre going to increasingly notice that your entire life has changed in more ways than you could ever imagine.