3 Super Cool Facts About Your Placenta!

What do you know about your placenta?

The placenta is a pretty amazing organ!  If you are pregnant, your body is hard at work growing your placenta right alongside your baby.  Most people know that the placenta is basically your baby's life line giving them the oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies they need to develop over your (approximately) 40 week pregnancy.  The average placenta weighs between 1.5 and 2 pounds, is the size of a small dinner plate and connects you to your baby via the umbilical cord but there is so much more to know about it!

Peterborough Doula Placenta Encapsulation

1. Your placenta is the only disposable human organ!

How cool is that?  While your body is busy growing a whole person it is also growing an organ that is absolutely essential to the growth and development of your baby but which will be birthed right after your new little love.  Poof!  Just like that - once baby is born your placenta will come away from the wall of your uterus and be expelled because it's job is done.  What is even cooler?  You can grow a new placenta with each and every pregnancy!  

2. Shiny Shultz & Dirty Duncan

There are two sides to every story... and every placenta!  The maternal side (nicknamed "Dirty Duncan") is the side of the placenta that is attached to your uterus.  It is full of hills (cotyledons) and valleys (sulci) which give this side it's brain-like appearance.  It is much "rougher" looking than the fetal side of the placenta which is why it is nicknamed the Dirty Duncan!  The other side of your placenta, the fetal side your baby was snuggled up next to, is the smooth "Tree of Life" side we see most often.  This side is nicknamed Shiny Shultz!

 When we make a print of your placenta, it is the fetal side that we use because of the beautiful vein structures that often look like the Tree of Life. Photo:  Matt + Steph  2017

When we make a print of your placenta, it is the fetal side that we use because of the beautiful vein structures that often look like the Tree of Life. Photo: Matt + Steph 2017

3. Together but separate.

The placenta is the point of exchange between you and your baby.  It is commonly believed that a mother and her baby share the same blood supply but that is actually not true!  The placenta connects mother and baby but, at the same time, acts as a protective barrier keeping both mother and baby safe.  As early as 7 weeks along, your baby begins to develop their own blood supply (and type!) independent of you but it is the placenta that allows the oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies to pass into your baby's blood and the carbon dioxide and other waste products to pass out to be processed and eliminated.

There are so many fascinating things to learn about your placenta - trust us when we say this is only the tip of the iceberg!   Do you have any cool factoids about the placenta?  Did you have your placenta printed or encapsulated?  Tag us in a snap shot on Instagram @hellobabyptbo or comment below.