The placenta is attached to the inside of the uterus “your womb”, and is connected to you by the umbilical cord. The placenta produces pregnancy-related hormones.
The placenta works between the mother’s and the baby’s blood supply. Small blood vessels carrying your baby’s blood run through the placenta, which is full of maternal blood. Nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s blood are transferred to your baby’s blood, while waste products are transferred from your baby’s blood to your blood, without the two blood supplies mixing. During your 20wk ultrasound scan the position of the placenta will be checked to ensure it is not covering the cervix, if it is found to be low lying you will be offered a further scan later on in your pregnancy, and if found to be covering your cervix you will be offered a C-section.
The umbilical cord
The umbilical cord is the lifeline that attaches the placenta to your baby. The umbilical cord is made up of three blood vessels: two smaller arteries, which carry blood to the placenta and a larger vein which returns blood to your baby. The umbilical cord can be 2-3ft long, allowing the baby enough cord to safely move around without causing damage to the cord or the placenta. Most babies love to play with and snuggle up to the cord.
After the baby is born, the cord is cut the remaining section will heal and form the baby’s belly button.
During pregnancy you may find out that the umbilical cord is in a knot, or is wrapped around a part of your baby’s body. This is common and cannot be prevented, and it usually does not pose any threats to the baby. During our 2D/4D baby scans we often see cord around babies body and neck.