The feto-amnio-placental complex
- Published 2 February 2009
The feto-amnio-placental complex is the fetal life support system. During labour, the membranes are torn and at the end of labour expelled from the uterus with the placenta as the afterbirth.
This is a rare picture of the feto-amnio-placental complex, the result of a third trimester spontaneous abortion in a multiparous woman (fig 1). On admission, no fetal heartbeat was detected on ultrasound. After discussing the situation with the patient the obstetrician decided to let the abortion go naturally and not interfere with the expulsion process. After a few hours the whole feto-amnio-placental complex was delivered as one entity with the amnion intact. The paediatrician opened the amniotic sac and auscultated the heart with a stethoscope. No heart sounds were detected.