Placenta in pregnancy

The role of the placenta during pregnancy

What is the placenta?

Translated from Latin, the placenta literally means - "cake". This is exactly what this body looks like. However, this cake is the most important element in pregnancy. From it in the literal sense, the growth and development of the future baby depends. The placenta begins to form already from the first minutes of fertilization. The egg divides and the cells that are formed give rise to a new life. In this process, those cells are formed that will ensure the contact of the fetus with the female body. On the 10th day after conception, a lacuna is formed in the inner layer of the uterus, filled with the blood vessels of the mother, in which the embryo is located. Nutrients he receives from the tissues of the mother's body. Around the embryo, in turn, a branched shell is formed, into which the vessels of the fetus grow. This is how the blood exchange between the mother and the embryo is established. This is the beginning of the formation of the placenta. The structure of this body changes as the needs of the growing fetus change. Only by the end of 35 weeks of pregnancy the placenta reaches full maturity. The normal placenta in diameter is 18 cm, its thickness is from 2 to 4 cm, and the weight is about 500 g.

Functions of the placenta in pregnancy

  1. The most important task of the placenta is to transport oxygen to the fetus through the mother's blood. Carbon dioxide is transported in the opposite direction.
  2. It is through the placenta that the fetus receives the nutrients necessary for its growth and development, and also gets rid of the products of his life.
  3. The placenta provides immunological protection of the fetus. She misses the mother's antibodies to the baby and protects him in this way from many infections. However, many drugs, narcotic substances, toxins, pesticides, viruses, alcohol and nicotine easily penetrate the bloodstream of the baby through the placenta. And they are able to significantly affect the development of the fetus and even completely affect it.
  4. The placenta also synthesizes hormones that are responsible for maintaining the pregnancy, growth and development of the baby's future.

Thus, we understand how important it is for a pregnant woman to properly develop and function the placenta. Throughout pregnancy, the placenta solves important problems, depending on its stage of development. Given the evolution of this body (formation, growth, maturity and aging), physicians observe with ultrasound changes in the placenta for the entire period of pregnancy. If there are serious deviations from the norms of development - treatment is prescribed, reinforcement of the organism.

Pathologies of the placenta

To date, placental abnormalities are quite common. Some of them do not cause significant damage to either the mother or the child, and others are dragging a lot of unpleasant consequences. To pathologies, the placenta is:

  • low attachment of the placenta;
  • placenta previa;
  • increment of the placenta;
  • dense placental attachment;
  • placental abruption;
  • early maturation of the placenta;
  • late maturation of the placenta;
  • increase or substantial decrease in the size of the placenta;
  • pleated placenta;
  • change in thickness of the placenta;
  • changes in lobular placental structure;
  • placental infarcts;
  • infectious inflammation of the placenta;
  • intraplacental thrombi;
  • tumors of the placenta and stuff.

The list is far from complete, and as we see it is not small. However, one should not worry. If you are pregnant - this does not mean that you are also expected to have any problems with the placenta. By themselves, these anomalies are extremely rare. They are usually provoked by other diseases. Therefore, as such, there is no placental treatment. Eliminate that problem, which caused the disruption of normal functioning of the placenta.

Here are some factors that can provoke placental pathologies:

  • diabetes mellitus in a pregnant woman;
  • late toxicosis (characterized by thinning of the placenta);
  • hemolytic disease;
  • Severe gestosis of the second half of pregnancy;
  • atherosclerosis;
  • toxoplasmosis;
  • Rhesus conflict in a pregnant woman;
  • severe anemia;
  • syphilis and other infectious diseases;
  • Stress and bad habits of the expectant mother;
  • the age of the pregnant woman (over 35 years);
  • protein in the urine of a pregnant woman in the first trimester;
  • small body weight of a future mother or obesity;
  • hypertensive disease in a pregnant woman;
  • Early abortion;
  • fetal hypotrophy;
  • congenital malformations of the fetus and others.

On the one hand, the condition of the placenta is affected by the pathology of the fetus, but on the other hand - and abnormalities in the functioning of the placenta can cause the underdevelopment of the future child (mental retardation, stillbirth).

Therefore, the pregnant woman is individually monitored, the doctor regularly assesses the pace of development of the fetus, and also monitors the placenta according to ultrasound.

But the pregnant woman herself must also be attentive to her health, to watch over state of health. Having noticed any changes - it is obligatory to tell about it the attending physician. Most often, with problems with the placenta, a woman feels abdominal pain (especially intense with placental abruption), sometimes bleeding from the genital tract, anxiety, sharp pallor, dyspnea, increased heart rate, lowering blood pressure and body temperature. But there are cases when the pathology of the placenta can be found only by a doctor. The very same pregnant woman can not even suspect of it.

So do not forget about regular surveys. Take care of yourself!

Read more: