Metabolic scaling law for fetus and placenta

Placenta. 2009 May;30(5):468-71. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2008.12.013. Epub 2009 Mar 12.


The human fetal birth weight does not scale linearly with the weight of the placenta, but exhibits an allometric scaling consistent with Kleiber's Law for the basal metabolic rate. We discuss the possible causes of such scaling, and its clinical consequences. In particular, we show that the value of the scaling exponent is an indicator of a normal fetoplacental development.

MeSH terms

  • Basal Metabolism*
  • Birth Weight / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fetus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy