Placental assessment: Simple techniques to enhance best practice

Alison L. Kent, Jane E. Dahlstrom

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: The placenta provides a 'diary' of the pregnancy. The information provided from pathological assessment of the placenta may provide important clinical information for both the mother and the neonate. Aims: To develop tools to ensure histopathological assessment of appropriate placentas and uniform provision of clinical history to pathologists to enable clinicopathological assessment. Methods: A placenta information form was devised that included the following clinical criteria: gestational age, prolonged rupture of membranes at term, suspected maternal/fetal bacterial or viral infection, swabs taken for culture, intrauterine growth restriction, perinatal death, pre-eclampsia, essential hypertension, diabetes, placenta praevia, multiple pregnancy and cytogenetics. A table was introduced into the midwifery placenta policy indicating clinical criteria for microbiology, histopathological or cytogenetic assessment. A colourful reminder poster was designed and placed in the delivery suite and education sessions were provided. Six-month review periods were performed prior to and following the two interventions. Results: The number of placentas submitted for histopathological examination (and meeting the inclusion criteria) increased from 41 (120/ 296) to 61% (161/266) following the initial interventions and to 82% (262/319) with the introduction of the reminder poster and education sessions. Clinically relevant placental pathology was found in 55 (64%) of cases in these time intervals. Comprehensive clinical history on the pathology report improved from 45 to 98% over the assessment time. Conclusion: Valuable information on a pregnancy can be provided by ensuring histopathological examination of appropriate placentas with the simple introduction of placental information sheets, updated midwifery policy, education sessions and a colourful reminder poster.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)32-37
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


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