Embryology swallows student midwife whole

We take time out now from our regularly scheduled Revolution to give you this small homework update. This week, like last week, is going to be a killer week. Chapter Three of my research proposal is due on Monday, two case presentations in two seperate classes are due next Wednesday, and the mother of all antepartum exams is THIS Wednesday, covering embryology, gestational diabetes and bleeding during pregnancy. All of which are such small, unimportant, simple topics that of course I got my studying done weeks ago and am looking forward to acing this exam. *cough* The embryology in particular is a black hole capable of devouring small villages, goats and all. You wouldn’t believe how complicated it is (or maybe you would). Day one, zygote, day three, morula, day four, blastocyst, day five the blastocyst divides into an embryoblast (aka future baby) and trophoblast (aka future placenta). Every three to four days, the growing organism gets a new name. The embryoblast goes on to become the bilaminar disc, composed of the epiblast and hypoblast, which then goes on to become a trilaminar disc, where the hypoblast morphs into the endoderm, the epiblast morphs into the ectoderm, and both contribute to the formation of the mesoderm. Meanwhile, back on the ranch, the trophoblast has become two parts as well: the syncytiotrophoblast (try saying that nine times fast…pronounced sin-sish-oh-tropho-blast) and the cytotrophoblast. Syncytiotrophoblast goes on to invade the endometrium (aka implant), while the cytotrophoblast encircles the baby and aspires to someday become the chorion. And this brings us up to day…seven.

I really don’t have a handle on this material at all yet (and the exam is…Wed???). Day one through ten is easy compared to all the bits about the differentiation of the chorion and the decidua, the formation of the primary, secondary and tertiary villi, the eventual fusion of the chorion leavae with the chorion frondosum, which in turn (I think) fuses with the decidua basalis, which then somehow fuses together to become the amniochorionic membrane…I think. It’s all a bit cloudy.

I wish we could somehow break it down into simpler terms, something along the lines of: bunch of cells, cells divide, eventually, around 3rd month, you’ve got amnion, chorion, and embryo. 6 months later, baby. Voila.

I think my brain is going to implode shortly. That must mean it’s time for bed.

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