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The Placenta is the least understood organ in the female anatomy. It is a transient organ; meaning, it grows and then leaves. It has the ornate purpose of sustaining the fetus. Below are some of the not so common facts about the Placenta that you should know about.

  1. The Forgotten Organ

The Placenta knew as Forgotten Organ due to the fact that it is being the first organ to be developed after conception.

  1. The barrier for viruses and germs

According to researchers at Magee-Women’s Research Institute (MWRI) and the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine, cells of the Placenta (trophoblasts) were found to have a unique ability to prevent viruses from crossing from an expectant mother to her growing baby.

  1. The Lifeline

The organ is the lifeline of the fetus in the mother’s womb. Its profound role is to sustain the fetus by facilitating nutrient, oxygen and excretion exchanges between the mother’s blood and the fetus’s blood.

  1. Hormone Production

The following hormones are produced by the placenta:

  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

Prevents menstruation, therefore prevention of abortion and stimulates the production of sex-based hormones in the fetus; Progesterone and Estrogen in females and Testosterone in Males.

  • Progesterone

Prevents Uterine Contractions and helps implantation of the embryo by stimulating the fallopian tubes to grant way for the embryo to travel to the uterine wall. Also causes nutrient-rich secretions in the uterus and the tubes for the embryo.

  • Estrogen

Allows for growth and development of the fetus by causing lactation and increase in space in the uterus for the fetus.

  • Human Placental Lactogen

Develops fetal metabolism and general growth and development by working with Growth Hormone to stimulate Insulin Growth Factor Production.

  1. Impacts

Babies with mental and/or physical disorders have been related to their placental abnormalities. The size, structure, molecular setup and positioning all affect the development of the fetus. *

  1. Placenta and Emotions

The placenta also consists of neurohormones that communicate the emotional state of the mother to the fetus; therefore mothers who are emotionally secure are likely to have that communicated to the fetus.

  1. Microchimerism

In many documented cases, there has been a number of different types of fetal cells present in mothers, in pregnancy by passing from the fetus to the mother via the placenta; called Fetomaternal Microchimerism.

  1. Human Placentophagy

Ongoing research has theorized human consumption of the placenta as nutritional and also as preventive of various diseases.* Historical accounts have shown how eating the placenta was an act of spirituality* and how modern actors like January Jones; made a trend out of it today.*

  1. Externalities

Studies have also shown that external factors such as pollution and drug abuse, or stress and depression can cause damage to the fetus as the placenta also transfers the toxins through the bloodstream or the neurohormones and adversely affect the fetus.

  1. Nature vs Nurture

The recent scientific breakthrough on placental research asserts the possibility of successful predictions of mental illness in the fetus. This has caused the community to engage in the debate on human intervention in nature’s doing and its implications.

Therefore, the placenta is essential for pregnancy and mother and fetus health, and measures be taken to keep it healthy. Check the human placenta project which might help for tips on having a healthy placenta throughout pregnancy.

Rainee Allen

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October 2019
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