What is placenta?
The placenta is an amazing organ that plays a crucial role in pregnancy in keeping the baby alive and well. When it is delivered after the birth of the baby, it looks somewhat like a piece of liver, and usually weighs about one sixth of the baby's weight.
The main function of the placenta is to supply the baby with adequate nutrition. Blood from the mother goes through the placenta then into the umbilical cord attached, before reaching the baby. This blood contains oxygen, glucose and an array of other nutritional substances. Before the blood goes to the baby, the placenta works like a kidney to filter it of harmful substances, while also letting those that are good for the baby pass through.
As well, the placenta acts like a lung for the baby, allowing the transfer of oxygen just like the lungs do in a newborn baby or adult. Once the baby has used the blood with the oxygen, the blood goes back to the placenta to get rid of carbon dioxide and pick up more oxygen. The placenta also ensures these waste products from the baby are released into the mother's circulation, which in turn are disposed of through her urine. It also helps to protect the baby from infections because it keeps the mother's blood and baby's blood separate by acting as an effective filter.