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How the Placenta Plays an Essential Role in Nourishing a Baby

What does the placenta do? The placenta is an organ that provides nourishment to the baby after conception and its proper development occurs throughout the first two trimesters of pregnancy. The placenta provides nourishment and oxygen to the baby and also allows them to eliminate waste. Its perfusion is directly linked to the mother’s blood pressure.

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What happens when the placenta doesn’t develop correctly? In some situations, the placenta develops incorrectly, doesn’t develop enough, ages to quickly or sometimes detaches from the uterus too soon. This can lead to a dysfunction that causes complications for the mother and the baby as well. These complications can happen quickly or appear later at the end of the pregnancy. They can be moderate or sometimes very serious. What situations are at risk for placental disorders? Some clinical situations present higher risks for placental disorders and require attentive monitoring in women who want to start a pregnancy. They include cardiovascular risk factors (chronic high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, severe obesity, untreated sleep apnea, chronic kidney disease), twin pregnancies, gamete donations (eggs or sperm for medically-assisted reproduction), certain blood clotting issues in the mother, pregnancy later in life, autoimmune diseases, and a personal history of vascular events during a previous pregnancy. These at-risk situations require getting specific care before conception, during pregnancy and after delivery in order to stabilize certain diseases (diabetes or high blood pressure, for example) or eliminating certain risk factors (tobacco use, for example) before pregnancy and setting up, monitoring and planning the medical and obstetrical care that will lead to a successful pregnancy.

 

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