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The Essential Role of the Placenta: Understanding Its Primary Function

Lisa

The Placenta:

The placenta, found inside the uterus, is like a baby’s helper before it’s born. It gives the baby all the things it needs to grow, like food and oxygen, and takes away the stuff the baby doesn’t need. There are three parts to it: some layers, a cord, and the main part. After the baby is born and doesn’t need it anymore, the placenta comes out too.

When is it formed?

The placenta starts forming around the end of the first few months of pregnancy. It makes sure the baby’s blood and the mom’s blood never mix. As the uterus grows, the placenta moves and grows with it. Sometimes, if the placenta is in front, mums might feel the baby moving later. If it’s too low in the uterus, it could cause some worries, but it is important to note that a low-lying placenta and placenta praevia are two very different things. A low-lying placenta is attached close to the opening of the uterus. Often this corrects itself as the uterus grows and expands upwards, along with it, moves the placenta. A placenta that completely covers the uterus’s opening, resulting in the need for a surgical birth, is called placenta praevia.

The Umbilical Cord

The umbilical cord is the part that attaches the placenta to the baby. The umbilical cord inserts itself into the placenta, and the common types of cord insertions 1) central insertion and 2) eccentric insertion. It is made up of three blood vessels, each with a different function, such as bringing oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to the baby and bringing waste back to the mother to excrete.

Attached to the organ are two very strong membranes, the amnion, and the chorion. Within these membranes, you will find the baby, the umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid. These membranes, like the placenta, will grow throughout the pregnancy. Once the time for birth comes, the membranes will tear, and amniotic fluid will leak.

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