4 frightening placental conditions to look out for

An organ that grows in the womb during pregnancy, learn what could affect the health of the placenta, baby’s lifeline.


Shortly after pushing bubba out into the world, you’ll likely experience a small gush of blood from down there. That blood-filled blob the doctor will discard has sustained your baby’s life in the womb for 40 weeks.

Do you know that the placenta is the first organ to develop when you’re pregnant but the last organ to leave your body after you’ve delivered your bundle? In fact, by the 12th week of pregnancy, the fully-functioning placenta will cater to baby’s every need while he’s in utero.

SmartParents ob-gyn expert Dr Christopher Chong explains that the placenta — which attaches to the wall of your womb — transports blood, oxygen and food to the foetus via the umbilical cord. The placenta also processes and expels any waste material from your foetus back into your body, notes ob-gyn Dr Peter Chew.

Crucially, it is responsible for producing amniotic fluid and supplying antibodies to keep your baby safe from infection. Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital’s ob-gyn Dr Dharshini Gopalakrishnakone adds that the placenta also produces vital hormones — such as progesterone — so that your kewpie develops normally in the womb.

Once baby is delivered, the placenta will detach from the uterine wall, pass through your cervix, then out of your body.

The placenta — which attaches to the wall of your womb — transports blood, oxygen and food to the foetus via the umbilical cord.

Celeb mothers like Katherine Heigl and Kim Kardashian have eaten their own placentas. These mothers believe that doing so can boost energy levels, improve the quality of breastmilk, curb postpartum depression and slow postnatal bleeding.

Dr Chong points out, “Your placenta functions like your air-conditioner filter or car filter, there’s no scientifically proven benefits to consuming it.”

Learn what four issues could affect the placenta, which could potentially cause heavy vaginal bleeding and endanger your baby’s life:

1) Placental Abruption

WHAT The placenta can separate or peel away from the uterine wall either partially or completely in some pregnancies. Common symptoms of this condition is vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramps.

THE EXPERT SAYS This is a potentially fatal condition for you and your foetus. Dr Chew says a placental abruption can lead to life-threatening blood loss and multiple organ failure — especially of the kidney. Your baby may experience foetal distress and even die as a result of oxygen and nutrient deprivation. Dr Dharshini cautions that expectant mums who are aged 40 and above, or those carrying twins or multiples, or who have high blood pressure are at higher risk of placental abruption.