The placenta is a temporary yet remarkable organ that plays numerous roles during pregnancy. It not only keeps your baby healthy inside the tummy but also executes a lot of functions all through the nine months. Are you keen to know about them?
Continue reading this MomJunction post, as here we tell you important functions of placenta during pregnancy, what factors might affect its functioning, and are there any placenta-related problems that you should know.
Why Is Placenta Important?
The main role of placenta in pregnancy is to provide your baby with enough nutrition. Usually it is found to weigh around one-sixth of your newborn’s weight.
- It does not have any nerve cells. Nor it is under the direct control of the spinal cord or your brain.
- Every minute during the pregnancy, almost about 550 milliliters of blood gets pumped into the uterus to exchange enough nutrients with the placenta for your baby.
[ Read: How Common Is Retained Placenta ]
10 Important Functions Of Placenta During Pregnancy
The placenta performs a vital role in all trimesters of pregnancy and ensures that your baby is delivered safely. It performs an array of functions such as:
1. The placenta mainly functions to supply adequate nutrition to your baby. Before the blood from you reaches your baby, it travels through the placenta to reach the umbilical cord that connects you with your baby.
2. Yet another important function that the placenta performs is that it acts like the kidney; it filters the blood to eliminate the harmful substances that might be hazardous to the health of your baby.
3. The placenta also serves as baby’s lung and allows the transmission of oxygen to your baby.
4. The placenta brings backs the bio wastes of your baby to the system of circulation of you, which is later discarded from your body through the urine.
5. It saves your baby from probable infections by separating the blood of you from your baby, thus acting like a filter.
6. Many hormones are produced from the placenta in your body with the maximum count of placental lactose that ensures you have enough level of glucose in your blood which enables it to circulate it to your baby.
7. The placenta also breaks down the food particles consumed by you to enable the nutrition to reach your baby faster.
8. It traps the oxygen inhaled by you to diffuse into the blood to help it reach the circulation system of your baby, by passing it through the umbilical cord. This is one among the prominent and important functions that the placenta performs as it prevents the chances that can make your baby from inhaling the amniotic fluids, which can be disastrous.
9. The placenta secretes a vast count of female hormones like progesterone and estrogen to stop probable contractions of the uterus before your baby has reached the full term. It also paves way to prepare the maternal tissues and the uterus for baby’s delivery.
10. During the stages of pregnancy, placenta moves while the womb of you expands and grows. It is the common function of the placenta to stay low in the early stages of pregnancy, but it moves to the top of the womb at later stages of pregnancy to keep the cervix open for delivery.
Factors That Affect Function Of Placenta In Pregnancy
Though placenta is a robust organ, various factors might affect the state of health of the placenta during the stages of pregnancy, which puts the pregnant mother more prone to mishaps and risks. Though some of these problems can be treated and modified, the modern medical science is yet to find answers for conditions like:
1. Trauma In The Abdomen: Trauma caused to pregnant mother’s abdomen, like a fall or any other kind of blow hurting the abdomen.
2. Blood Clotting Issues: Some medical conditions can hinder the ability of the blood to get clot.
[ Read: Blood Clot In Placenta During Pregnancy ]
3. High Levels Of Blood Pressure: Hike in the blood pressure levels of you can harm your placenta health to a great extent.
4. High Maternal Age: Mothers who conceive after the age of forty face problems related to placenta.
5. Multiple Pregnancies: Mothers who are pregnant with twins or more babies usually develop weak placenta.
6. Premature Membrane Rupture: The membrane which is filled with fluid known as the amniotic sac might get ruptured at an early state.
7. Placental Issue History: Pregnant mother having a history of placental problem during her previous pregnancy.
8. Uterine Surgery: Any surgeries previously done upon the uterus.
9. Using Abusive Substances: This is a human error; if you are an addict, it can unfortunately have a bad effect on both you and your baby.
The test to check proper functioning for the placenta can be performed with an ultrasound and Doppler test to determine the blood flow through the umbilical-cord. To have an idea of some of the issues associated with placenta when a mother is carrying her baby in her womb, take a look below:
1. Blood Pressure:
High levels of blood pressure are a common problem among pregnant mothers.
- If a pregnant mother experiences excessive high blood pressure during the stages of her pregnancy, she needs to get appropriate medications to bring down the level of her blood pressure.
- This is essential as this condition of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia can develop if the placenta is not well developed.
2. Multiple Organs:
The pregnant mother has to undergo several tests to determine if her nervous system, liver, kidney are function properly as it can severely affect the health of her placenta.
Conditions like placental abruption that implies that the placenta had failed to develop normally and ultimately it gets separated from the uterus during the term of pregnancy.
3. Placentra Accreta:
‘Placenta accreta occurs if the placenta gets attached with the uterine wall very deeply.
Though the actual causes had not been tracked till date, probable causes might be a caesarean delivery in the previous delivery or a condition called placenta praevia.
[ Read: Uterine Rupture During Pregnancy ]
4. Insufficiency Of The Placenta :
This occurs in mothers whose placenta is not working properly.
- Mostly women with high blood pressure are found to be more prone to these situations.
- The tragedy that it involves is that your baby is born in much smaller size than the normal one.
5. Placenta Praevia:
Another problem is known as placenta praevia that causes the placenta to grow in the lower portion of the uterus, which closes the opening of the cervix completely.
This problem can be identified with sudden bleeding happening out of the vagina during the end of second trimester or during the onset of the third trimester.
We hope this article has given you a broad idea about placenta importance during pregnancy. Expecting mothers must consult their doctor to rule out the possibility of various factors that can ruin the health of their placenta by taking the right medications at the right time.
Do you have some more information about what is the function of the placenta during pregnancy. Please share it with us.
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