The placenta is a structure that develops inside the uterus during pregnancy. It forms from the same cells as the embryo and acts as an unborn baby’s life-support system. One side of the placenta attaches to the wall of the uterus and connects to the mother’s blood supply. The other side connects the baby to the placenta through the umbilical cord.
The placenta supplies the baby with nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s blood. It also removes waste from the baby’s blood and puts it into the mother’s blood. The mother’s kidneys dispose of the waste. We check postion of the placenta during your ultrasound scan to ensure its not low lying or covering the way out.
The placenta also produces hormones that play a role in starting labour and help protect the baby from infections and harmful substances. After a woman gives birth, the placenta’s job is done. It comes out after the baby is born and is called the afterbirth.
The mature placenta is flat and shaped like a circle. It weighs about 1 pound. But sometimes the placenta:
- Is not formed correctly
- Is not in the right place in the uterus
- Does not work correctly
These kinds of placental problems are some of the most common complications of the second half of pregnancy.