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Welcome to The Visible Embryo, a comprehensive educational resource on human development from conception to birth.

The Visible Embryo provides visual references for changes in fetal development throughout pregnancy and can be navigated via fetal development or maternal changes.

The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development awarded Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovative Research Grants to develop The Visible Embryo. Initally designed to evaluate the internet as a teaching tool for first year medical students, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than one million visitors each month.

Today, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than 1 million visitors each month. The field of early embryology has grown to include the identification of the stem cell as not only critical to organogenesis in the embryo, but equally critical to organ function and repair in the adult human. The identification and understanding of genetic malfunction, inflammatory responses, and the progression in chronic disease, begins with a grounding in primary cellular and systemic functions manifested in the study of the early embryo.

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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresFemale Reproductive SystemEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterSecond TrimesterFirst TrimesterFertilizationDevelopmental Timeline
CLICK ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development
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Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts |News Archive Nov 27, 2013

 

Pre-eclampsia, characterized by high blood pressure, causes complications in approximately 3-6% of all pregnancies, is also associated with high risks of preterm delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, placental abruption, and perinatal mortality.







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Pre-eclampsia rates on the rise in USA

A new study shows an increase of 322% for severe pre-eclampsia.

A latest study by researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Medical Center reports that pre-eclampsia has a 1.5-fold to 2-fold higher incidence in first pregnancies.


Pre-eclampsia is characterized by elevation in blood pressure and excess protein in the urine of pregnant women.

The condition, which causes complications in approximately 3-6% of all pregnancies, is also associated with high risks of preterm delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, placental abruption, and perinatal mortality.


Findings are published online in the British Medical Journal.

The study by Drs. Cande Ananth, Katherine Keyes, and Ronald Wapner in the Departments of Epidemiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, examined data on 120 million births in the United States between 1980 and 2010 from national hospital discharge surveys. This is the largest cohort study to analyze changes in rates of pre-eclampsia in the U.S.


According to the research, pre-eclampsia rates rose from 3.4% in 1980 to 3.8% in 2010. This increase was due to the rise in rates of severe pre-eclampsia — from 0.3% in 1980 to 1.4% in 2010, a relative increase of 322%.

At the same time, rates of mild pre-eclampsia declined, from 3.1% in 1980 to 2.5% in 2010.

Women born in the mid-1970s were at increased risk for mild pre-eclampsia, whereas women born more recently showed an increased risk of severe pre-eclampsia, suggesting a birth cohort effect.

The researchers note that the increasing obesity and decreasing smoking rates in the United States across the last three decades explain, at least in part, the trends in the observed pre-eclampsia rates.


Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the researchers analyzed data collected across 30 years to understand the association of maternal age with time of disease occurrence and mother’s date of birth on rates of pre-eclampsia.

Results suggest that reducing obesity rates could also be favorable to a reduction in pre-eclampsia rates.

Abstract
Objective To estimate the contributions of biological aging, historical trends, and birth cohort effects on trends in pre-eclampsia in the United States.

Design Population based retrospective study.

Setting National hospital discharge survey datasets, 1980-2010, United States.

Participants 120 million women admitted to hospital for delivery.

Main outcome measures Temporal changes in rates of mild and severe pre-eclampsia in relation to maternal age, year of delivery, and birth cohorts. Poisson regression as well as multilevel age-period-cohort models with adjustment for obesity and smoking were incorporated.

Results The rate of pre-eclampsia was 3.4%. The age-period-cohort analysis showed a strong age effect, with women at the extremes of maternal age having the greatest risk of pre-eclampsia. In comparison with women delivering in 1980, those delivering in 2003 were at 6.7-fold (95% confidence interval 5.6-fold to 8.0-fold) increased risk of severe pre-eclampsia. Period effects declined after 2003. Trends for severe pre-eclampsia also showed a modest birth cohort effect, with women born in the 1970s at increased risk. Compared with women born in 1955, the risk ratio for women born in 1970 was 1.2 (95% confidence interval 1.1 to 1.3). Similar patterns were also evident for mild pre-eclampsia, although attenuated. Changes in the population prevalence of obesity and smoking were associated with period and cohort trends in pre-eclampsia but did not explain the trends.

Conclusions Rates of severe pre-eclampsia have been increasing in the United States and age-period-cohort effects all contribute to these trends. Although smoking and obesity have driven these trends, changes in the diagnostic criteria may have also contributed to the age-period-cohort effects. Health consequences of rising obesity rates in the United States underscore that efforts to reduce obesity may be beneficial to maternal and perinatal health.

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