font size

Definition of Afterbirth

Afterbirth: The placenta and fetal membranes that are expelled from the uterus following the baby's birth. Hence, the "afterbirth." The placenta is what joins the mother and fetus. It also permits the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus besides the release of carbon dioxide and waste products from the fetus to the mother. As a uniquely disposable organ, the placenta is disk-shaped and at full term, measures about 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter and little under less than 2 inches (4 cm) thick. The fetal membranes - the chorion is the outer one and the amnion is the inner one - envelop the embryo and contain the amniotic fluid. The word "afterbirth" entered the English language in the 16th century. The term has also been applied to a child born after the father's death or last testament.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2174
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

Drug Medical Dictionary of Terms by Letter

Top RxList Drug News

Parenting and Pregnancy

Get tips for baby and you.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations