Not only are you growing a baby but you’ve grown a whole other organ too. During pregnancy we focus on growing a baby but sometimes forget or bypass one of the most complex and important organs known to the human race, the placenta. It’s now thought that the placenta is mainly responsible for the onset of labour but we don’t really know why yet. Your placenta acts as your baby’s heart, lungs, liver and temperature regulation.
20% of your blood volume is circulating to your baby through your placenta. This explains why you were so exhausted in the first trimester as your body was also growing another organ that needed a significant amount of blood. If you’re pregnant, right now your placenta is fighting off and eliminating pathogens (unwanted intruders) and allowing your antibodies to pass onto your baby (building your baby’s immune system). The placenta also allows fetal cells into your body that can help to repair any damage to your organs and your baby’s cells can stay in your body for decades, it’s called fetal microchimerism. The relationship you have with your baby through the placenta is phenomenal. In fact, it blows my mind daily.
You might not have been told about the physical reality of giving birth, after you have had your baby you’ll still get contractions and have to push your placenta out, it’s soft tissue and weighs around 2lbs. It’s not the most attractive looking organ at first sight but the closer you look the more beautiful it gets as you can see all the blue veins and arteries like streams leading to a river then into your babies cord. I encourage women to see their placenta because it’s such a special organ yet one that we least understand; the more attention it gets the better.
“Power concedes nothing without demand.” Frederick Douglass
A little more info: Placental cells disguise themselves as uterine cells in order to trick your uterus and embed deep into it. This is kind of sinister and it’s very similar to how cancer cells operate. If we knew more about the placenta we would know more about, not only cancer, but organ transplant because your placenta is part you and part your baby yet your body doesn’t reject this – it welcomes and nurtures it.