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Placenta: Things We Need To Know

Placenta: Things We Need To Know

The placenta is powerful! We hear the word placenta often during pregnancy, but how many of you know that it’s a powerhouse that plays a crucial role in pregnancy health and the health of your growing baby?  

The placenta is a fascinating and unique organ. Its function is life-sustaining, which helped the placenta earn the nickname the “tree of life.” The name is partly so because the veins resemble a tree when you look at a placenta!

What’s Placenta?

The placenta or afterbirth is a pancake-like organ. It attaches to the inside of a woman’s uterus during pregnancy. The umbilical cord connects the fetus or growing baby to the placenta. The connection allows nutrients, blood, and oxygen to pass from the mother to the baby. 

The placenta plays a role in removing waste from the baby’s blood. It produces pregnancy-related hormones like progesterone, estrogen, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Placenta has two components: the fetal side and the maternal side of placenta.

Your beautiful baby isn’t the only thing being birthed. The third stage of labor is delivering the placenta. After the baby is born, the uterus typically continues contracting to help your body expel the placenta. It can be a couple of minutes to a half-hour after birth.

The doctor examines the placenta to ensure there aren’t any abnormalities or reasons for concern. They’ll also be checking to see that the placenta is intact and that nothing is left inside the uterus. Retained placenta can be dangerous.

A Lotus Birth

Some parents choose to keep their precious little one attached to the placenta for a time post-birth. This is known as a lotus birth.

The umbilical cord does not get cut in a lotus birth, allowing the baby to remain attached to the placenta. After all, the placenta has been the baby’s life source for the last nine months. The connection remains until the cord naturally breaks, anywhere from 3 to 10 days after birth.

The lotus birth practice has been done with various mammalian species and can be found in birth anthropology. 

Complications With Placenta

The placenta typically attaches to the upper part of the uterus during pregnancy, away from the cervix. It can also connect to the front or back of the uterus, which is normal. However, if the placenta begins to cover the area close to the cervix, it will be a problem.

Placenta previa is a condition where the placenta covers a portion or all of the cervix. The cervix is the opening to the uterus. When the condition is found during early pregnancy or during the second trimester, the placenta can move out of the way independently. However, if it continues growing, when it’s time for delivery, there is a risk that the placenta tears, which can be harmful to the baby.

Placenta absorption and Placenta accreta are two more serious issues that can take place with the placenta.

The placenta is powerful and is crucial for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Throughout your entire pregnancy, tests will be issued to ensure everything is coming along as it should. If there are any issues, the sooner they’re found, the faster solutions might be available. 

Keep in touch with your doctor and report any concerns or issues. Open communication can help ease any stress or anxiety that might come up.

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