15 Amazing Facts About The Placenta, Umbilical Cord and The Amniotic Sac

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

I find pregnancy so fascinating! Not just the crazy idea of this little thing growing into an actual human, but all the things that need to take place in between sex with a partner to birthing a baby. We often talk about the changes that happen to the mom when pregnant, the pregnancy symptoms, the weight gain the “oh crap I can’t see my feet any more” moments, but there really are some behind the scene things that are equally as interesting.

I will admit, I had never seen a placenta in real life or photo-form until after the birth of my first child and I accidently saw it sitting in a bucket in front of me. I was both totally disgusted and intrigued at the first time. I had no idea it would be so big and look like an organ. It is an organ, but I guess I never really thought too much about it. Since then, I have been really fascinated with learning more about the things I didn’t really think about. Week-by-week I was reading up on what the baby was doing — what new changes he underwent, but paid little attention to the three vital aspects of pregnancy — the amniotic sac and fluid, the placenta and the umbilical cord — there would be no babies with out them.

Read 15 amazing facts about the amniotic sac, placenta and the umbilical cord:

1. One part of the placenta is genetically and biologically part of the mother, and the other part of the baby.

2. Every minute of your pregnancy, 1 pint of blood is pumping into the uterus, exchanging nutrients with the placenta. Mothers blood doesn’t mix with the babies though.

3. Placenta on average is about 22cm in diameter and 2.0 – 2.5 cm thick. It weighs approximately 470 g (about 1 lb).

4. The first placental hormone produced is hCG which is the hormone that’s detected by a pregnancy test.

5. Different cultures believe different things about the placenta – some cultures bury the placenta, some eat the placenta (placentophagy) & some cultures use the placenta in medicines. Picture above is dried and ground placenta.

6. Umbilical cord is physiologically & genetically part of the fetus and normally contains two arteries and one vein.

7. Umbilical cord is approximately 22 in. (56 cm) long. It extends from the abdominal wall of the baby and is attached to the placenta. Main function is to carry nourishment and oxygen from the placenta to the baby and return waste products to the placenta from the baby.

8. Umbilical cord contains many cells called hematopoietic stem cells. These cells can develop into several different kinds of specialized cells and have been used as part of treatment in many diseases including leukemia and lymphoma.

9. Near the end of pregnancy, the umbilical cord passes antibodies given through the placenta to the baby from your body.

10. The stump of the cord that is left attached to the baby will dry up after 5 and 15 days after birth leaving the scar known as the navel (belly button).

11. Amniotic fluid levels sit at approximately 800ml through most of the pregnancy. It may drop slightly near the end of the pregnancy.

12. Amniotic fluid levels sit at approximately 800ml through most of the pregnancy. It may drop slightly near the end of the pregnancy.

13. About 2 weeks after fertilization takes place the amniotic sac begins to grow and fill. After about 10 weeks gestation, the fluid contains carbohydrates, lipids, phospholipids, proteins, and urea which reaches the fetus.

14. Amniotic fluid completely replaces itself every three hours, even after your has broken.

15. Some babies are born within the amniotic sac or with a large part of the membrane coating the newborn – knows as “being born in the caul”.

Article Posted 4 years Ago

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