Placenta: structure, development and function


What is the role of the placenta for mom and baby?

Placenta(or children's place) is a unique organ in the female body, which exists only during pregnancy and looks like a tortilla. Inside the placenta is the baby, and it plays the role of its most reliable protection against all harmful external factors. It is in the placenta that the baby can grow and develop, and because of its condition, doctors can tell about various intrauterine problems and pathologies.

Placenta formation

The placenta begins to form on the 7th day after fertilization, from the cells that surround the embryo. However, the placenta fully performs its function, starting from the 16th week of pregnancy, when its thickness reaches 15 mm, and the value - 15-20 cm.

Structure of the placenta

The placenta, as we have said, looks like a flat cake, Consisting of a large number of lobules penetrated by vessels. The placenta has the so-called “maternal part”, by which it is attached to the uterine lining, and the “children's part”, which faces the baby and to which the umbilical cord is attached.

Placental development

The placenta reaches its “maturity” at 38-40 weeks gestation. Then its diameter is 15-20 cm, width - 2.5-3.5 cm, and weight - 500-600 g. At birth, the placenta is “born” within 15 minutes after the birth of the child. She is carefully examined by the doctor to make sure that she was “born” entirely (because the pieces left inside the woman can fester over time), and also to understand how calm the pregnancy went, whether there was a detachment, infectious processes, etc. . (depends on the purity of the surface of the placenta).


Functions of the placenta and its importance for the development of pregnancy and child:

  1. It produces hormones that contribute to the preservation of pregnancy.
  2. Through her, the child receives oxygen, nutrition, and protection.
  3. Through the placenta out the waste products of the child.
  4. The placenta protects the child, not missing, in particular, the mother’s antibodies to him (which contributes to the formation of his own immunity). Mother's antibodies, penetrating to the child, could recognize him as an alien object and try to harm him.

DiagnosticsThe placenta is based on ultra-sonic examination (ultrasound).

Read also:Degree of aging of the placenta

Possible pathology of the placenta

Obstetrician-gynecologist Svetlana Pedchenkostresses that it is very important for the future mother to know what can happen with the placenta during pregnancy, how it can affect the child and objectively realize the importance of her safety and healthy development. In particular:

  • Early maturation of the placenta- late toxicosis is possible, the threat of pregnancy failure, child hypotrophy.
  • Late maturation of the placenta(typical for pregnant women with child pathologies, diabetes mellitus or Rhesus-conflict) - stillbirth or congenital mental retardation of the child.
  • Violation of the size of the placenta- leads to the inability of the placenta to perform its functions and requires additional research and control of pregnancy by doctors.
  • Low attachment of the placenta- is fraught with its detachment and premature birth. under the nameELENA writes:"I was initially told by the doctors about the low-lying placenta, but it did not bother anyone at all until I got sick with flu in 36 weeks. After that, there was an abruption and I had to immediately Caesar ... "

  • Placenta previa- can cause bleeding or premature labor.
  • Placenta cyst- a sign of the inflammatory process. Usually cysts supply blood separately, separated from the rest of the placenta and do not affect the development of the child. However, additional diagnosis is still necessary to rule out possible placental insufficiency.
  • Placental abruption(or its bleeding) - severe obstetric pathology, which can be fatal for the mother and child, if it is not detected in time. Also, placental abruption often leads to premature labor, either naturally or through cesarean section, with the possible subsequent removal of the uterus (if it is too full of blood and cannot be reduced).
  • Incrementortight attachment of the placenta- found in childbirth. In this case, after the birth of the child, the placenta is separated manually. This procedure is done under general anesthesia.

We hope and sincerely wish your placenta to be strong and healthy and give everything your baby needs. However, if you have any doubts about this, we recommend, without delaying, to seek help from your doctor.

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