The placenta is the least understood organ in the human body yet it is vital for fetal survival and has a life long effect on both maternal and child morbidity. Detailing the structure and function of the placenta throughout gestation is an essential step in understanding its roles in promoting normal growth and development of the fetus. Current information obtained from routine ultrasound of the placenta (NICE guidelines for antenatal ultrasound) is limited. The NIH funded Placental Imaging Project (PIP), led by King’s College London, University College London, Nottingham University and Colombia University, New York, aims to make major scientific progress by developing and optimising a combined approach using advanced MR imaging, fetal ECG and detailed placental histology. Our goal is to develop MR acquisition techniques, including diffusion microstructure imaging, MR elastography and oxygen inhalation MRI to non-invasively characterise the placenta in unprecedented detail. This novel MR imaging approach will be combined with information from maternal serum markers of placental function, Doppler ultrasound measures of placental and fetal blood flow and further measures of fetal wellbeing reflected by fetal heart rate variability. The overall aim of the study being to provide early identification of placental and fetal compromise to provide vital information for interventions and thereby improving outcomes.

Volume of Flowing Blood in control placenta at 22+6
Diffusivity of placenta at 22+6 weeks GA.
Fractional ansiotropy of control placenta at 22+6 weeks GA