10017 - Methods of Fetal Postmortem Examination

Course Director

Jonathan Hecht, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School


This online CME course is taught by one of the leading experts in fetal pathology and describes the methods of examination and significance of findings in fetuses who have died in utero. These specimens are submitted after evacuations for abnormalities in the fetus, fetal demise-retained maternal complication (eclampsia / infection), and other indications or after spontaneous abortion related to fetal demise or maternal complication (cervical incompetence).


AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™

Opus Medicus designates this Internet enduring material for a maximum of 2.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Credits

In addition to AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, Opus Medicus designates this course for Specialty Board MOC Program Credits:

2.0 ABP CC/MOC Credits1

Accreditation Statement

Opus Medicus is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Tuition Fees

Course & Credits: $52.00

Course Dates

Last Review Date: 18-Jan-2023
Expiration Date: 17-Jan-2026


For Pathologists, Obstetricians, Pediatricians, and Geneticists to learn methods of evaluation and understand the significance of the findings in postmortem examinations of fetuses who have succumbed in utero.

After taking this course, participants should:

1. Understand the relevance of prenatal testing to the postmortem examination.

2. Have a framework for processing fetal remains.

3. Know when to order specialized ancillary tests (i.e. cytogenetics).

4. Recognize normal fetal histology.

5. Recognize common malformations and their mimics.

6. Diagnose the common causes of death.

7. Estimate the duration of in-utero retention after death.


1. Prenatal testing

2. Processing fetal remains extracted by curettage.

3. Processing delivered (intact) fetal remains

4. Normal fetal histology

5. Common gross and microscopic anomalies and their mimics

6. Assigning the cause of death

7. Estimation of in-utero retention time after death

8. Dictation.

Specific topics covered in this AMA PRA Categogy 1 Credit™ online CME course include autopsy, autopsy techniques, autopsy interpretation, fetopsy, fetal autopsy, fetal post-mortem, fetus dissection, fetal histology, fetal demise, fetal abnormalities, cause of death, in-utero retention time, fetal malformations, nuchal thickness, cleft lip, cleft palate, cystic hygroma, monosomy X, trisomy 13, trisomy 18, trisomy 21, Dandy-Walker malformation, omphalocele, neural tube defects, echogenic bowel, short long bones, oligohydramnios, choroid plexus cyst, echogenic heart, hypoplastic nasal bones, osteogenesis imperfecta, polydactyly, syndactyly, triploidy, diandry, Smith Lemli Opitz syndrome, Holt-Oram syndrome (TBX5 mutation), dysostosis, osteochondrodysplasias (dwarfs), amniotic band syndrome, anencephaly, meningomyelocele, spina-bifida, Meckel-Gruber syndrome, occipital encephalocele, polydactyly, cystic kidneys (collecting duct dysplasia), hepatic ductal plate dysplasia, pancreatic duct dysplasia, Meckel’s diverticulum, hypospadias, mummification, placental pathology, placental infection, placental infarcts, placental membrane hemosiderin, preeclampsia, fetal thrombotic vasculopathy, placental nucleated fetal red cells, chronic villitis, Organ of Zukerkandl, fetal thymus, metanephric blastema, fetal lung, fetal liver, fetal kidney, and fetal gastrointestinal tract.

American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) / Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Competencies

☑  Patient Care (PC)
☑  Medical Knowledge (MK)

Financial Relationship Disclosure and Content Attestation

Dr. Jonathan L. Hecht attests that he has no financial relationships with a commercial entity producing health-care related products and/or services. Dr. Steven R. Tahan, Education Committee Chair, attests that commercial entities with which he has relationships do not produce health-care related products or services relevant to the content of this course. No other person who has provided content for or who can influence the content of this course has disclosed financial relationships with commercial entities that produce health care-related products or services relevant to the course content.

There has been no commercial support for this course.

Supported Computer Hardware and Software Configurations2

Supported client computing platforms include:

A broadband Internet connection is required (e.g., cable, DSL, and 3G or 4G wireless). The course presentation is automatically scaled to the size of the display, from 800x480 pixels (minimum supported) to 1920x1200 pixels. On some smart phones, viewing courses may be tedious.

Supported browsers include:

Javascript, cookies, and popups must be enabled on your browser (which is the default configuration for most browsers).

1. Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to 2.0 CC/MOC credits for the American Board of Pathology (ABP) Continuing Certification (CC) / Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program, in addition to AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Participants will earn CC/MOC credits equivalent to the amount of AMA PRA Category 1 credits claimed for the activity. Immediately upon course completion, Opus Medicus will submit participant completion information to ACCME for the purpose of granting ABP CC/MOC credit.

2. The course may also be viewable on other client computing platforms that comply with Internet standards. If you experience technical problems that prevent you from viewing the course, we will promptly issue a full refund upon request.