Last Updated: March 14, 2017

Definition - What does Placenta mean?

A placenta is the organ that develops during pregnancy to provide nutrients and oxygen to the developing baby and to remove waste products from the baby's blood. The role of the placenta is to support the normal growth and development of the fetus.

A placenta may also be known as afterbirth.

FertilitySmarts explains Placenta

The placenta develops as soon as a blastocyst implants within the uterine wall. The trophoblast cells on the outer layer of a blastocyst becomes the outer layer of the placenta.

The placenta is attached to the mother's uterine lining and is connected to the baby through the umbilical cord, which functions as a conduit between mother and developing baby. The placenta allows the baby and mother to be connected without sharing a blood supply. A mother's blood flows to the placenta, where nutrients and oxygen are metabolized and released into fetal circulation.

The placenta plays a role in protecting the fetus from infections and maternal diseases. It is also responsible for releasing pregnancy-supporting hormones to both the mother and fetus.

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