Fetal Circulation - Definition, Umbilical Cord and Fetal Circulation Flow Chart

Subhajit Chanda


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Fetal Circulation or Foetal Circulation refers to the unique circulatory system that allows the exchange of gases and nutrients between the developing fetus and the pregnant mother.

A picture of fetal circulation
Fetal Circulation Diagram

Umbilical Cord:

        ● Umbilical Arteries:

Return non-oxygenated blood, Biological waste, and CO₂ from fetal body to placenta.

        ● Umbilical Vein:

Bring Oxygenated blood and nutrients to the fetus.

The umbilical vein carries 80% saturated blood from the placenta.


       ● Ductus Venosus:

Connects the umbilical vein and inferior vena cava.

       ● Ductus Arteriosus:

Connects the main pulmonary artery to the aorta.

       ● Foramen Ovale:

Anatomical opening between right and left atrium.

➦ Cardiac Output:

  • During fetal life - 350 ml/kg/min
  • Following birth - 500 ml/kg/min

➦ Fetal Heart Rate;

The normal fetal heart rate is 120 - 160 beats/min.

➦ Fetal Circulation Flow Chart:

A picture of fetal circulation steps
Fetal Circulation Flow Chart

➦ Fetal Circulation Explained Video:

➦ Download NOTE of Fetal Circulation:

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