The placenta is an organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy. It provides oxygen and nutrients to the foetus and re
moves wastes products that the baby cannot eliminate yet. The placenta is attached to the uterine wall and it is connected to the baby by the cord.
To make it easy, we can imagine the placenta as a filter in between maternal blood and foetal blood. It allows some components to go through the filter and blocks other components. Placenta "feeds" and protects the foetus during the pregnancy.
The placenta has an endocrine function, which means it produces several hormones.
Three of them promote mammary growth and glandular maturity during pregnancy.
- The Human Placental Lactogen (HPL),
- The estrogen
- The progesterone
Typically, during an uncomplicated birth, a few minutes after the infant is born, the cord stops beating, the provider applies a clamp (it's called delayed cord clamping) and the placenta will detach from the uterine wall. The provider will ask the patient to push one more time and the placenta is born.
What is happening for lactation?
When the placenta is born the progesterone will suddenly drop. The prolactin production will raise and 30-70 hours later the copious milk production should start.
Just on time for the second night of baby's life!
The first night baby was sleeping and recovering from the birth. The second night baby is asking to feed very frequently and it is normal! Your milk is about to come in.
Some people wants to take home and consumes their placenta after the birth either cooked or encapsulated. They report positive effects with this practice (increasing lactation and decreasing post partum depression rate), however as of today there is no medical studies that prove these benefits.