J Clin Pathol 61:1254-1260 doi:10.1136/jcp.2008.055236
  • Review

The placenta in pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction

  1. D J Roberts1,
  2. M D Post2
  1. 1
    Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2
    Department of Pathology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  1. Dr D J Roberts, Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA; djroberts{at}
  • Accepted 19 June 2008
  • Published Online First 19 July 2008


Placental examination in pregnancies with complications such as pre-eclampsia/toxaemia of pregnancy (PET) or intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) can provide insight into specific diagnoses, recurrence risk and chronicity. Placental findings have clinical significance as they can identify the aetiology of the IUGR (as in inborn errors of metabolism) and predict recurrence (as in maternal floor infarcts). Evaluation of obstetric pathology in such pregnancies should be an integral part of clinical care. This review will highlight the placental findings in IUGR and PET.


  • Competing interests: None.