It Has A Truly Amazing Function

The placenta is a place of nourishment for your baby. It has truly amazing functions. Family Physician Jane Forester tells us more.
Jane Forester

Your question
What is the purpose of the placenta?

The expert answers
The placenta is an organ within the uterus by means of which the growing fetus is attached to the wall of the uterus. Its primary purpose is to provide the fetus with nourishment, eliminate its wastes and exchange respiratory gases.

This is accomplished by the close proximity of the maternal and fetal blood systems within the placenta. These processes begin immediately as the fetus is forming.

It also functions as a gland, secreting various hormones including chorionic gonadotropin, progesterone and estrogens. All these hormones help regulate and maintain the pregnancy.

The placenta grows throughout the pregnancy and it remains connected to the uterine wall on one side and connects to the fetus through the umbilical cord. This is where all the exchanges take place. After the newborn is delivered the umbilical cord is clamped then cut and while you're holding your new arrival, the placenta is separating itself from the uterine wall and becomes ready for delivery, normally within one hour of delivery. The placenta is then pushed out by contractions and the mother's help and is visually inspected by the physician for any problems. After this inspection it is thrown away with the rest of the afterbirth.

By the way, remember the delivery is not over until the placenta is out, so save some strength to push. Then we physicians will let you enjoy your new baby in peace.

Jane Forester
Family Physician


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