In this unit of study, students will develop a detailed understanding of the physiological and biochemical events that regulate reproduction, conception and subsequently the development of specialised cells, tissues and organs during the embryonic and foetal periods. Tissue interactions, pattern formation and the continuous development of physiological systems throughout the foetal and neonatal periods will be examined alongside the determination of pathological outcomes. In addition, the processes involved in parturition and the maternal adaptations during pregnancy will be featured. Students will be exposed to a range of scientific techniques and develop an understanding of clinical applications in maternal and neonatal care.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


RBM2540 - Pathophysiology 2

RBM2133 - Cell and Molecular Biology

HBM2106 - Human Genetics

RBM2540 - For HBBM students. RBM2133 and HBM2106 - For HBBS students.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Conceptually map the physiological processes that govern reproduction and the transitional adaptations that must occur at birth in the neonate;  
  2. Critically review the body of research that has led to our fundamental understanding of developmental biology with particular emphasis on the embryonic and foetal stages;  
  3. Interpret the maternal adaptations and changes associated with pregnancy;  
  4. Recognise sonographic, biochemical and/or symptomatic anomalies in the foetus and mother evaluate the impact on future development and recommend potential treatments; and  
  5. Investigate the process of parturition and critically evaluate the theories underpinning its initiation.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Laboratory Work Laboratory work and models (1000 words equivalence) 20%
Test Test (30 minutes) 15%
Assignment Case study poster (1000 words or equivalent) 25%
Exercise Case Study (1500 words equivalent) 40%

Required reading

Before we are born: essentials of embryology and birth defects 9th ed.
Moore, K. L., Persaud, T.V.N., & Torchia, M.G. (2016)
Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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