DIANE NELSON / CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DIANE NELSON / CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Drugs crossing the placenta. Illustration of the blood flow across the placenta, showing the diffusion of a drug from mother to foetus. At lower frame is a pool of blood which occurs in the mother's placenta. This pool contains red blood cells, white blood cells (light blue), and smaller granules of a drug. At top is a blood vessel of the foetal blood system. Blood products are seen diffusing into this blood vessel, which will then move down the umbilical cord into the foetus. Drugs such as alcohol, nicotine and steroids can cross the placental barrier, together with oxygen and nutrients from the mother.
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