When Does The Placenta Take Over? Mythical Functions It Does

when does the placenta take over

In most women, the placenta takes over by the time the first trimester is about to end. Before that, the corpus luteum deals with hormone production.

A lot of women have questions about when the placenta takes over and what this means. The placenta takes over after 12 weeks of pregnancy, meaning that it takes over hormone production and is now in charge of how much and which hormones will be released. Understanding how the placenta works is important and will be discussed here.

The placenta is a developing organ in the uterine lining. This pancake-shaped organ helps the baby eat and keeps the baby alive by making sure the baby grows healthily. It also cleans the baby’s blood of waste materials. The baby’s umbilical cord grows from the placenta, which is attached to the uterus’ wall throughout pregnancy. Typically, this temporary organ is connected to the uterus’s front, rear, side, or top. In some rare cases, the placenta attaches to the uterine cavity below. When this occurs, it could lead to serious complications for both the mother and the child.

To promote a healthy pregnancy and ensure the good health of the developing baby, the mother must maintain a daily intake of certain nutrients and an excess of about 300 calories. Mothers must consume nutrient-dense meals high in sustaining nutrients and minerals that are crucial for her health, the blood vessels, and the umbilical cord. 

Since the infant absorbs a considerable amount of iron from the mother’s blood supply, several meals high in iron should be consumed. By the time the first trimester ends, the placenta has taken over hormone synthesis. The corpus luteum produces a large percentage of the hormones up until this point.

Placenta Taking Over: What Does it Mean?

Knowing when the fetal placenta takes charge of crucial processes like hormone synthesis and supplying your baby with nutrition is important because of the important role placenta plays throughout a pregnancy.

Although every pregnancy is unique, you may anticipate the placenta to take control between weeks 8 and 12, with ten weeks being the typical point for most women.

This does not negate the value of proper diet and hormone synthesis on your own. In reality, the placenta’s “taking over” in terms of nourishment implies that anything you eat may now reach your kid through the placenta and umbilical cord. 

Progesterone supplements may be necessary for the first trimester for women who became pregnant through fertilized egg implants or who suffer from hormone shortages. Once the placenta produces this hormone on its own, these people can frequently stop taking it.

Hormonal Production

Placenta produces progesterone and estrogen, which help support pregnancy. Progesterone works to sustain pregnancy by maintaining the uterine lining (womb), which creates the conditions for the development of the embryo and placenta. In order to avoid pregnancy complications, progesterone slows the peeling of this lining, which is comparable to what goes down each month when the menstrual cycle ends. 

In order to prevent labor from starting before the conclusion of the pregnancy, progesterone also inhibits the uterine wall’s muscle layer’s capacity to contract. As the pregnancy progresses toward its conclusion, estrogen levels climb. By blocking the effects of progesterone, estrogen causes uterine contractions and stimulates uterine expansion to accommodate the developing embryo. In doing so, it gets the uterus ready for labor. To prepare for nursing, estrogen also increases the mammary glands’ maturation during pregnancy.

Placenta also produces hormones such as the human chorionic gonadotropin, placental growth hormone, relaxin, Human placental lactogen as well as kisspeptin. A pregnancy test measures human chorionic gonadotrophin, which is the first hormone to be secreted from the growing placenta. 

The corpus luteum, a transient endocrine gland located in the ovary, continues to produce progesterone as an indication to the mother’s body that pregnancy has taken place. Human placental lactogen is believed to stimulate the development of the mammary glands to prepare for breastfeeding, but its exact role is unknown. 

It is also thought to increase the number of nutrients in the mother’s blood that the fetus can absorb to regulate the mother’s metabolism. Placental growth hormone, which takes precedence throughout pregnancy as a result of the inhibition of growth hormone generated by the maternal pituitary gland, serves a similar function. 

At the end of pregnancy, relaxin stimulates the pelvic ligaments to loosen and the cervix to soften, which speeds up labor. A recently discovered hormone called kisspeptin is crucial for many facets of human fertility. Kisspeptin appears to control placental development into the lining of the womb of the mother (endometrium).

Relief From Morning Sickness

The second trimester is eagerly anticipated by many women because it brings more energy, a hormonal balance, and relief from morning sickness. As was previously noted, the placenta begins to produce progesterone at about week ten during early pregnancy. 

This lessens dizziness and vomiting and signals the end of morning sickness for many mothers. But sometimes, morning sickness continues. In that scenario, the placenta could also be important. Those repeated episodes of nausea and vomiting might last for a while if you have a greater level of the protein GDF15 in your blood.

One study discovered that during week 15 of pregnancy, maternal circulating GDF15 levels were higher among women who had experienced vomiting in the second trimester. High levels of GDF15, according to researchers, may indicate that the placenta is not developing properly. Additionally, it could provide light on the causes of hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe case of morning sickness that affects certain women.

How Does the Baby Get Nutritious in the Womb?

How Does the Baby Get Nutritious in the Womb

The placenta can be the maternal placenta, managing maternal circulation, and the fetal placenta, managing fetal circulation. Your baby obtains nutrition from the endometrium, the uterine lining, again until the placenta is grown enough to do so. The placenta forms by the rapid multiplication of these identical endometrial cells.

Glands throughout the uterine lining release glucose during the first several weeks of pregnancy. The uterine lining stores these as glycogen. This glycogen serves as your baby’s sole source of nutrition for a while.

The placenta replaces the glycogen as your baby’s primary source of nutrition between weeks 8 and 12 of pregnancy. The uterus then quits secreting glycogen. The following is how it occurs:

  • The food that you eat is processed and broken down in your stomach into carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals, as well as protein.
  • Your blood absorbs the nutrients, which then go to the placenta.
  • The umbilical cord’s blood vessels transport nutrients from the placenta to the tubes that provide them to the newborn. The umbilical cord arises from the placenta. The antibodies protect the baby from diseases too. These antibodies are also found in the placenta and the umbilical cord.

Does the Placenta Keep Changing its Place During Pregnancy?

The location of the placenta changes as your pregnancy advances because of the growth of your womb. Normally, the placenta connects upward and far from your cervix. The placenta may obstruct the baby’s exit if it remains low in the womb, covering or being close to the cervix.

Placenta Previa

If the placenta is less than 2 cm from the cervix, it is referred to as a low-lying placenta, and if the placenta covers the cervix, it is referred to as a placenta previa. About 1 in 200 infants are affected with placenta previa, noticing their placenta form a covering in front of the cervix. The location of your placenta can be noted during the 18 to 21-week ultrasound scan. You will be offered a second ultrasound scan shortly afterward, often at around 32 weeks, to examine your placenta’s location if it is noticeably low.

By this time, usually, the placenta grows to the top portion of the uterus for 90% of women. There is a greater possibility that you will bleed during pregnancy or childbirth if the placenta is still located low in the womb. This bleeding could be very severe, endangering both you and the unborn child. Your doctor will advise a cesarean section if the placenta is way too close to or completely covers the cervix since this prevents vaginal delivery. During the last three months of pregnancy, painless, bright crimson bleeding may be a sign of a low-lying placenta. Please get in touch with your midwife right away if this happens to you.

Anterior Placenta

The term “anterior placenta” or fundal placenta describes the placenta’s attachment to the stomach’s front. In most cases, this isn’t a problem; it’s simply a typical variance. However, if you see a reduction in fetal activity, let your doctor know. Your kid shouldn’t be impacted by the placenta’s anterior location. No matter where it is, it should still be feeding your kid. But because the placenta is at the front, there are a few minute variations you could observe.

For instance, the placenta may give extra room or a barrier between your stomach and the developing kid. Due to the placenta’s ability to serve as a cushion, you may experience kicks or pokes later than you would in a conventional pregnancy.

Fortunately, they are only mild annoyances that shouldn’t affect your baby’s health. There is also something called posterior placenta, where the placenta is attached to the back of the stomach.

What Are Placental Problems in Pregnancy?

Placental abruption, placenta praevia, and placenta accreta are examples of probable placenta disorders during pregnancy. Retained placenta after birth might be problematic. You should be aware of placental complications.

Placental abruption

Placental abruption is the medical term for when the placenta entirely or partially separates from the uterine inner wall before birth. This might deprive the growing baby of oxygen and nourishment and result in severe bleeding. An emergency scenario necessitating an early birth might be caused by placenta abruption. Back or abdominal pain is among the symptoms, as well as bleeding.

Placenta Praevia

The cervix, the opening to the uterus, becomes partially or completely covered by the placenta in this situation. Early in pregnancy, placenta praevia is more frequent and may go away as the uterus expands.

During pregnancy or birth, placenta previa can result in significant vaginal bleeding. The amount of bleeding, if it stops, the stage of your pregnancy, the placenta’s location, and the overall health of both you and your unborn child all play a role in how this condition should be managed. Late in your third trimester, if placenta previa still exists, your doctor may advise a C-section.

Placenta Accreta

After delivery, the placenta often separates from the uterine wall. When there is placenta accreta, the placenta is partially or completely still firmly connected to the uterus. Whenever the placenta’s blood veins and other components grow too far into the uterine wall, this condition develops. Significant blood loss during birth may result from this.

In difficult situations, the placenta develops through the uterine wall or infiltrates the uterus’ muscles. The excision of your uterus will likely be advised by your doctor after a C-section.

Retained Placenta

A retained placenta isn’t removed within 30 minutes of the delivery of the baby. A retained placenta can develop when the placenta is still connected to the uterine wall or when it becomes caught behind a partly closed cervix. A retained placenta can result in serious infections or life-threatening loss of blood if left untreated.

Placental Insufficiency

Placental insufficiency forms when the placenta fails to provide an adequate supply of oxygen and nourishment to the fetus, resulting in pregnancy problems. Your doctor will keep an eye on this problem throughout your pregnancy.

Keep an Eye on The Symptoms!

The Placenta is a vital organ that gives your developing child oxygen and nourishment. It has a significant impact on the health of your pregnancy as well. 

The placenta develops and adapts in form throughout your pregnancy. As soon as you notice any unusual symptoms, such as vaginal bleeding, back discomfort, or stomach pain, immediately get in touch with your healthcare specialist without wasting a minute. These might be symptoms of more severe disease, such as placenta previa.

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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