Pregnancy – Getting to Know Your Placenta

Confused about when does the placenta take over?
Here are the things you need to know!

If you are pregnant then congrats but if you are planning to become pregnant then there are some things that you need to know before jumping into this ocean.  For instance, your baby is not the only thing that will grow in your belly during the nine months of pregnancy. Right from the moment of your conception, your baby receives required nutrition inside the womb. But the issue is that how this process works and what are the organs involved.

Right from the moment of your conception, your baby receives required nutrition inside the womb. But the issue is that how this process works and what are the organs that play

Right from the moment of your conception, your baby receives required nutrition inside the womb. But the issue is that how this process works and what are the organs that play a major role in this process. This is the point where placenta comes into the picture.

What the heck is this “Placenta”?


Placenta is basically an organ that acts as a life-connection between the mother and the unborn baby. It starts to grow once the baby has been conceived and starts functioning once the pregnancy reaches its 12th week. Although the exact time when

Although the exact time when placenta takes over vary according to the condition and progress of each pregnancy but the most probable chances of its taking over lies during the twelfth week.

Why Placenta is important?

In order to grow inside the mother’s womb, a baby needs food in the form of water, nutrients, oxygen, and immunity against the diseases. The baby also needs a way through which it can get rid of its waste such as carbon dioxide. All these roles are played by placenta which acts as inside-the-body care-taker for your baby.

Placenta extracts nutrients from the mother’s blood as it passes through the uterus and feeds them to the baby. Apart from feeding the baby, it also plays a major role in protecting the baby from any type of disease by collecting the oxygen molecules and immune molecules from the mother’s blood and providing them to the baby.

Placenta also acts as a flushing system throughout your baby’s stay within the womb. This means that when your baby passes out carbon dioxide or any other sort of waste, the placenta pushes these waste items into the mother’s blood.

Placenta plays the most important care-taking role when the mother falls ill during the pregnancy. It acts as a barrier during this and protects the baby by preventing most of the germs from reaching the baby. It also prevents the baby cells from entering the mother’s bloodstream so she won’t expel the baby from her body.

Placenta not just acts as a caretaker for the baby but it also produces necessary hormones during the pregnancy such as estrogen, progesterone, relaxin, and oxytocin. Some of these hormones prepare your body for lactating after you give birth to the baby and develop a special bond between you and the baby.

Before placenta takes over…

As placenta becomes active by the twelfth week so mother keeps the baby healthy during initial weeks of pregnancy by producing the progesterone hormone. You might feel the taking over of placenta because when it takes over, mothers stop feeling morning sickness.

How is placenta formed?


The formation of placenta starts during the third week of the pregnancy when the follicle from ovary collapses. After collapsing the follicle starts creating progesterone which results in nourishing the embryo. This process continues throughout the first trimester of the pregnancy.

Things change a bit when the pregnancy enters its fourth week. By this time, some of the cells enter the uterus and attach themselves to the uterine wall.

Later on, some of the cells from this group move towards the darker and deeper areas of the uterine walls while others blend together and start forming toes and fingers of the fetus. The cells that have moved towards the deeper area of the uterus blend together and start creating placenta from the blood vessels.

Once formed, the placenta begins to grow and keeps on growing during the next eight weeks of the pregnancy. At the time of formation, placenta contains small-sized capillaries that grow into the large-sized blood vessels with the passage of time.

The growth of placenta ensures that baby will get sufficient amount of oxygen and nutrients. By the time pregnancy enters its twelfth week, placenta becomes strong enough to play its role so it takes over. However, the growth procedure of the placenta doesn’t stop until the end of the pregnancy.

How many placentas are formed in case of twins?

If a woman is pregnant with twins then in the case of fraternal twins, there will be two different placentas.

However, if a woman is pregnant with identical twins then the formation of a placenta or placentas depend on the timing when the split occurs in the fertilized egg.

If the placenta forms after the split then both of the babies will have their own placenta. But if formation occurs before the split then both twins would have to share the same placenta through their umbilical cords.

After the placenta takes over…


Here are the certain noticeable things that happen after the placenta takes over:

  • Your morning sickness subsides
  • Your breasts will become more sensitive and painful to touch
  • The areola of your breasts will become dark
  • The size of your breasts will start increasing
  • You will start becoming fatigued
  • You will also experience sudden unexplained emotional changes

Placental Problems

Your placenta could experience certain health issues during the pregnancy if you don’t follow the healthy lifestyle. Excessive use of anti-depressants, smoking, taking painkiller could incur negative effects on your placenta. If something goes wrong with the placenta then naturally your unborn baby’s health will suffer.

Intake of excessive medicines and drugs is not the only thing that can affect placenta’s health.
There are also some other factors that can cause negative effects on placenta such as:

  • If the mother experiences any sort of abdominal trauma during the pregnancy that includes receiving a blow to the abdomen.
  • Carrying more than one baby at a time which usually happens in identical twin pregnancy can also put pressure on the placenta.
  • Age of the mother plays an important role in maintaining the health of the pregnancy. If a woman conceives after the age of 35 then placental complications would increase during the pregnancy.
  • If a woman experiences high blood pressure during the pregnancy then it could also lead to placental problems.

Signs of placental problem

If you experience any of these symptoms or all of these symptoms then it’s best to contact your gynecologist because they are the sign that your placenta is not functioning properly.

  • Serious back pain
  • Sudden uterine contractions during the pregnancy
  • Serious abdominal pain
  • Vaginal bleeding

Types of placental problems

During pregnancy, women can suffer from a number of placental problems such as:

  • Placenta previa
  • Anterior placenta
  • Enlarged placenta
  • Placenta accrete
  • Placental abruption

Having any of these conditions doesn’t mean that you will have to spend the rest of your pregnancy in the hospital. It means that the doctor would keep an eye on your condition throughout the pregnancy.

Placenta previa is the most complex of these conditions mentioned above because it could cause severe issues for you and the baby if not detected on time.

This is the condition when the placenta attaches itself to the lower part of the uterus. It is a dangerous condition because placenta covers the birth canal and doesn’t allow baby to born through the natural process.

It can prove fatal for both mother and the baby if left unattended.

Recent findings have revealed that due to the genetic link between placenta and the baby, it can help in early detection of genetic diseases, preeclampsia, and signs of autism in the baby.

What happens after the birth?


Placenta keeps the baby alive throughout the pregnancy but it becomes useless once the baby is born. Mother pushes out the baby and then she also has to push out the placenta. After the baby is born and the umbilical cord is cut,

After the baby is born and the umbilical cord is cut, the mother still feels the contractions to push out the placenta. If by any chance,

If by any chance, the mother is extremely fatigued and cannot push the placenta (which happens in majority cases) then the doctor will pull out the placenta by gently tugging at the umbilical cord.

The doctor sometimes massages the uterus or injects the medicine to trigger strong contractions so that placenta could be expelled from the body.

Breastfeeding your baby right after pushing him out also helps in getting rid of the placenta as this process triggers contractions.


The placenta is the most important organ that keeps your baby alive and healthy throughout the nine months of pregnancy.

Although placenta is formed with the conception it takes over when the mother enters the twelfth week of her pregnancy. Prior to the functioning of the placenta, fetus remains alive with the help of progesterone.

However, when the placenta takes over, it not only provides baby with the nutrients, oxygen, and water but it also protects the baby from different diseases.

Mother feels her morning sickness getting better during the twelfth week of her pregnancy because placenta starts functioning at that time. The most amazing thing about placenta is that it is formed from the same cells that create the baby.

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