The role of placenta in pregnancy.

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According to Associate Professor Andrew Bisits, the placenta is an important component of pregnancy and has a significant impact on the health of both the mother and the unborn child.

What Does a Placenta Do and What Is It?

The placenta is a remarkable organ that keeps the developing foetus alive and thriving during pregnancy. It resembles a piece of liver when it is delivered after the baby is born, and it typically weighs about one sixth of the newborn’s weight.

The placenta’s primary job is to ensure that the newborn gets enough nutrition. Before reaching the infant, the mother’s blood travels through the placenta and into the linked umbilical cord. Oxygen, glucose, and a variety of other nutritious components are present in this blood. The placenta functions like a kidney, removing toxic components from the blood before it reaches the infant while allowing healthy components to flow through.


The blood returns to the placenta to expel carbon dioxide and replenish oxygen after the baby has used the blood that contains oxygen. The placenta also makes sure that these infant waste products are discharged into the mother’s bloodstream and then eliminated through urine. By serving as a reliable filter, it keeps the mother’s blood and the baby’s blood apart, assisting in the baby’s protection against infections.

Many different hormones are produced by the placenta. Human placental lactogen is the hormone that is most abundantly generated, and it makes the mother’s blood glucose levels higher so that more glucose can be transferred to the unborn child. The female hormones oestrogen and progesterone are also produced in large quantities by the placenta. These hormones play a part in preventing uterine contractions prior to delivery and preparing the uterus and maternal tissues for labour. They are also to blame for some of the physical changes a pregnant woman experiences. Oestrogen and corticotrophin-releasing hormone are two hormones that may have an impact on when labour starts.

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Praevia Placenta

Pregnancy issue where the placenta grows in the lowest portion of the uterus and partially or completely blocks the cervix, or opening to the birth canal. The primary sign of placenta praevia is unexpected vaginal bleeding, however some women also report cramps. Near the conclusion of the second trimester or the beginning of the third, bleeding frequently begins.

Placenta praevia can take one of three main forms: marginal, partial, or total. Marginal placenta praevia is when the placenta is near to the cervix but does not cover the opening (where the placenta covers all of the cervical opening).

The majority of women who have placenta praevia require caesarean delivery. A vaginal delivery can result in significant bleeding if the placenta completely or partially covers the cervix, which puts both the mother and the unborn child in danger.

Were You Aware?

• The absence of nerve cells in the placenta, which means it is not directly controlled by the brain or spinal cord, is an intriguing aspect of this organ.
• One pint, or 568.26 ml, of blood pumps into the uterus every minute throughout pregnancy, supplying the placenta with nourishment.
• A pregnant woman’s dietary intake does not immediately affect the developing foetus. Proteins and nutrients are broken down into minute particles that pass through the placenta. Amniotic fluid is not breathed in by newborns. Additionally, oxygen diffuses across the placenta into the blood of the foetus and into the baby’s circulation via the umbilical cord.

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