Baby’s Lifeline

What is your Baby’s Lifeline?

Your baby’s lifeline consist of the placenta, the umbilical cord, and the amniotic sac which all work together to make the uterus your baby’s development home. It is amazing to see how these parts work together to feed, nurture and help your baby grow.

Baby’s Lifeline – The placenta:

The placenta is an organ that attaches to one side of your uterus and then is connected to your baby through the umbilical cord. As an organ, the placenta produces pregnancy-related hormones known as hCG, estrogen, and progesterone.

The placenta allows the baby’s blood to mix with the mothers blood which enables nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s blood to be transferred to the baby.  Similarly, the baby’s waste is transferred from the baby’s blood to the mother’s blood in the placenta to be removed.

The placenta will be delivered as part of the afterbirth following delivery.  Placenta previa is a potential concern that may arise when the placenta develops near or over the cervix.  Your healthcare provider will evaluate this condition and take actions to make sure that you and your baby both remain healthy.

Baby’s Lifeline – The umbilical cord:

The umbilical cord is what attaches the placenta to your baby. There are three blood vessels that are used to make up the umbilical cord.  Two of these arteries ares smaller which carry blood from the baby to the placenta.  A larger vein is used to carry blood from the placenta back to your baby.  The umbilical cord is long enough that allows your baby with enough freedom to move around safely.

The umbilical cord is cut after the baby is born.  The cord will be healed and fall away from the baby to create your baby’s belly button.

During pregnancy you may find out that the umbilical cord is in a knot, or is wrapped around a part of your baby’s body. This is common and cannot be prevented, and it usually does not pose any threats to the baby.

Baby’s Lifeline – The amniotic sac:

The amniotic sac is filled with the amniotic fluid. This sac is your baby’s home, gymnasium, and protection from outside knocks, bumps, and other external pressures. The amniotic sac allows the fetus ample room to swim and move around which helps build muscle tone. To keep the baby cozy, the amniotic sac and fluid maintain a slightly higher temperature than the mother’s body, usually 99.7 F.

At week 10, there is around 30 ml of fluid present. The amniotic fluid will reach it’s peak around weeks 34-36 at about 1 liter. When your water breaks, it is this sac that ruptures and this fluid that leaves the body. Your baby’s life is still being supported by the umbilical cord, and you should be meeting your baby soon!

Are the placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic sac different when dealing with multiple births?

Identical twins often share the same placenta, usually have separate amniotic sacs, and always have their own umbilical cords. Non identical twins have separate placentas, amniotic sacs, and umbilical cords.

Last Updated: 11/2012

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