As pregnant moms we understand that with pregnancy comes your sweet little growing babe and the placenta which is nurturing them. Although, if you are like me, you can go your entire pregnancy not really knowing exactly what it is doing for you and your baby. During this pregnancy I decided to read up some more information on what my placenta is up to during these long 9 months and I was shocked by how much I didn’t know, and how much it does! If you want to know more about this amazing organ check out some of the incredible facts below.
1. It Is A Disposable Organ
The placenta is the only organ that develops and then disposes of itself when it is no longer needed. With each pregnancy a new placenta is formed and then after the baby is born the placenta follows, sometimes several minutes behind. This process is also known as the “afterbirth“.
2. The Placenta Acts As A Barrier
Just like the placenta allows nutrients and blood cells through it also acts as a barrier to keep any nasty bacteria and viruses out of the womb and away from your baby.
3. The Placenta Leaving Activates Milk Hormones
When the placenta leaves the body during the afterbirth, it triggers a hormone response which signals the production of milk. Although, you wont see “milk” right away, as your body produces colostrum for the first few days.
4. The Placenta Nourishes Your Baby
All the food you consume during your pregnancy gets broken down into proteins and nutrients which enter your blood stream. Those nutrients pass through the placenta and umbilical cord and into your baby.
5. The Placenta Secretes Hormones
Your placenta secretes hormones during your pregnancy, these include, HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin), Estrogen and Progesterone You can thank your placenta and the HCG hormone when you pregnancy test shows those two exciting lines.
6. The Placenta Grows With Your Baby
As your baby grows, so does your placenta and by the end of your pregnancy your placenta can weigh up to 2 pounds! Something to think about as your are packing on those pregnancy pounds.
7. The Placenta Exchanges High Volumes Of Blood
Every minute of your pregnancy a whole pint of blood is sent to the uterus to exchange nutrients with the placenta! That is a ton of work and, not surprisingly, why pregnancy is so exhausting.
8. Identical Twins Can Have One or Two Placentas Depending
Depending on when the egg splits, identical twins can either share one placenta with their own umbilical cords, or if the egg splits before the placenta is formed they can each have their own placenta. This means twin mamas could be growing two babies and two placentas at the same time! I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
9. The Placenta Is Made From Both Parents
If you are like me, you have probably assumed the placenta is all mom, but actually the placenta is formed at the time the egg is fertilized. The fertilized egg’s cells quickly multiply and this becomes the baby and placenta. So make sure to thank you partner for playing their part in creating this vital organ 😉
10. Some People Eat Their Placenta
Yup and they have a word for it: placentophagy. It is believed that there are many benefits from ingesting your placenta, some of these include: balancing postnatal hormones, increased milk supply and more energy. This can be done a few different ways, but the most popular at the moment by far is, encapsulation. There is no conclusive evidence whether this practice is beneficial, however there are many testimonials from mothers who have done it and found that it has helped.