PSL1421H - Pregnancy and Birth - from Implantation to Newborn Life

Course Coordinator: 

Dr. S. Matthews


The course will provide a general overview of the integrated physiologic events associated with pregnancy and birth. The approach will be to consider physiologic processes (e.g., implantation, maternal adaptations to pregnancy, parturition, physiologic consequences associated with the transition from fetal to neonatal life, etc.) using insights gained from studies of humans, animals, cells and genes. Where appropriate the clinical consequences of aberrant development will be reviewed. Topics that may be discussed within this course include:

  • Embryo development

  • Implantation; interactions between embryo and endometrium

  • Trophoblast invasion and formation of placenta

  • Maternal recognition of pregnancy

  • Maternal adaptation to pregnancy

  • Fetal cardiovascular system

  • Fetal renal system

  • Fetal lung development and respiratory system

  • Fetal brain

  • Fetal growth

  • Fetal endocrinology

  • Endocrinology / physiology of labour

  • The fetus as a patient

  • Transition from fetal to newborn life

  • The fetus and adult health

Recommended Preparation:

Students will normally be expected to have gained credit in an appropriate 3rd year general physiology course.


Course Assignments: 15%
Mid-term exam (short essay-based): 22%
Final exam (short essay-based): 33%
Review paper: 30% - well-focused 15-page review on a novel topic related to pregnancy and birth.  The review should be no more than 15 pages double-spaced, exclusive of references and figures (12 pt font, 1 inch margins).

Last updated: 20-Dec-2017