The placenta contains valuable clinical information that is linked to fetal development, neonatal morbidity and mortality, and future health outcomes. Both gross inspection and histopathological examination of the placenta may identify intrinsic or secondary placental lesions, which can contribute directly to adverse neonatal outcomes or indicate the presence of an unfavourable intrauterine environment. Placental examination therefore forms an essential component of the care of high-risk neonates and at perinatal post-mortem examination. In this article, we describe the clinical value of placental examination for paediatricians and perinatal clinicians. We discuss common pathological findings on general inspection of the placenta with photographic examples and provide an overview of the placental pathological examination, including how to interpret key findings. We also address the medico-legal and financial implications of placental examinations and describe current and future clinical considerations for clinicians in regard to placental examination.
- Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
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Contributors DC and NG conceived of the article. DC, MH, PS, MA-A, GFF and NG collectively wrote the first draft. All authors contributed to reviewing the manuscript, and all have seen and approved the final version.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.