Where does the little world that surrounds the child before birth come from? To answer this question, let’s start from the beginning.
Immediately after fertilization, that is, the fusion of sperm and egg, a new cell is formed, which contains half the male and half female chromosomes. By the end of the first day after conception, the fragmentation of the appeared cell begins: this process continues for 3-4 days. All this time, the embryo moves through the fallopian tube to the uterus, feeding on small yolk reserves in the egg cell.
The implantation of the embryo into the uterus wall (implantation) begins seven days after fertilization and lasts about 40 hours. In the process of permanent cell division, certain types of tissue are laid, which give rise to human organs, as well as the so-called extra-embryonic structures, which are the placenta, the yolk sac, amnion and umbilical cord.
The most remarkable thing is that this organ appears only during pregnancy: after the birth of a baby, he will have to go after his little owner. What work does the placenta do?
- It delivers oxygen from the expectant mother to the baby and transports carbon dioxide in the opposite direction.
- Feeds baby and displays the products of exchange.
- Provides the woman’s body with hormones, so that pregnancy develops safely.
- It protects the baby: this kind of barrier separates two genetically alien organisms (mother and child), thereby preventing the occurrence of an immune conflict between them.
- It helps the child to resist harmful elements that enter the body of the future mother (toxic substances, some drugs, microorganisms). But the placenta is not omnipotent: it can not protect the baby from many harmful compounds.
The placenta looks like a round flat disk. By the time of birth, its diameter is 15–18 cm, and its thickness is 2–3 cm.
The placenta has two surfaces – one is adjacent to the wall of the uterus and is called maternal, and the other is facing the baby. How does this important organ appear? From the 9th day after conception and up to the 13th – 16th week of pregnancy, its predecessor, the villous chorion, develops, which becomes a placenta at 16 weeks.
From that moment she begins her work. On how she does it depends on the development and condition of the baby. In addition, its appearance and structural features show how small grows.
That is why, watching the future mother during pregnancy, doctors are so closely studying the appearance and structure of the placenta. Usually the doctor pays attention to its location, thickness, size, structural features and degree of maturity.
ATTENTION! If, after the next ultrasound examination, the doctor finds out the so-called placental insufficiency, do not refuse to go to the hospital – this condition may threaten the well-being of the future mother and child.
As soon as the baby is born and the doctor cuts the umbilical cord, the main role of the placenta ends, and its birth occurs within 30 minutes. The doctor carefully examines the placenta: firstly, the doctor needs to understand how the pregnancy developed and how the baby feels, and secondly, he should check whether there is a defect or additional lobe on its maternal part: if the tissue particles remain in the uterus, must be removed.
After inspection, the placenta is weighed, measured, and all data is recorded in the history of childbirth. If the indicators of its weight, size, surface features are different from normal, the obstetrician informs the pediatrician about this.
As soon as the placenta ceases to interest doctors, it is either destroyed or used for therapeutic or scientific purposes.
Another temporary body that is actively involved in the development of the baby at the very beginning of pregnancy: it feeds the embryo, provides it with oxygen, takes care of the hematopoietic function of the small organism. The yolk sac performs its duties until the 7–8th week, and then begins to develop in the opposite direction, that is, to disappear.
Of course, if you do not cut off the umbilical cord, it dries and disappears in a few days. However, in this case, there is a danger that the infection will enter the body of the baby, after which, most likely, very serious problems will arise. That is why I would not recommend future parents to take risks.
Home births are famous not only because the birth of a child occurs in the water, and next to the expectant mother is not a doctor, but a spiritual midwife, but also because after cutting the umbilical cord, young parents save the placenta for later. plant it in the ground.
It is believed that the above-described “ritual” (alas, you can’t call it another word) serves some lofty goals. Needless to say that doctors look at this procedure with a certain degree of irony?
Amnion is the germ from which the amniotic, or fetal, shell is formed – the wall of the reservoir in which the child is located. The main function of the body is the development of amniotic fluid in which the baby develops.
- Amniotic fluid volume depends on the size of the baby and placenta. Usually by the 38th week of pregnancy, it approaches 1000-1500 ml.
- Water temperature is always kept at around 37 ° C.
- Fluid well absorbs shocks and drowns out noises coming from the outside world.
- Amniotic fluid contains immunoglobulins that protect the little man from possible trouble. And they also protect the baby from pressure from the outside world and make sure that the primary means of communication with the mother (the umbilical cord) is not pinched.
- Almost 97% of the amniotic fluid is water, in which a variety of nutrients are dissolved: proteins, mineral salts (calcium, sodium, chlorine). In addition, it can detect skin cells, hair and aromatic substances – alkaloids. It is believed that the smell of amniotic fluid is similar to the flavor of mother’s milk, which allows the newborn to accurately determine where the mother’s breast is.
- On the day of birth, after a rupture of the membranes of the fetus (regardless of whether it occurs naturally or artificially), the waters enter the birth canal and wash them, which helps the baby move forward. If the baby is lying head down, then at the beginning of labor only those waters that are ahead are poured out, and the rest go along with the child.
Since everything related to the condition of the amniotic fluid is very important for the health of the child, doctors closely monitor everything that happens with the amniotic fluid for 9 months: if it becomes too little or too much, it can affect the development of the embryo. It is very important that before the onset of labor the membranes remain safe and sound.
If the liquid begins to leak, you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible.
The umbilical cord begins to form at the earliest stages of embryo development and is a formation in which two umbilical arteries and the umbilical vein pass. Since the umbilical cord forms a fabric with a special structure – the so-called Vartonov jelly, it is elastic and at the same time flexible. In addition, it is impossible to pinch, which is very important for the umbilical vessels, which are transported nutrients and oxygen.
At the end of the third month of pregnancy, the umbilical cord becomes clearly visible on the screen of the ultrasound monitor. And since before the birth, children lead an active lifestyle – swimming and tumbling in the amniotic fluid, it can twist, tie a knot, or wrap around the child’s arm or neck.
Barcode to the “portrait”
With the growth of the baby, the umbilical cord also increases: by the end of pregnancy, its length reaches 50 cm, and its diameter is 1.5 cm.
What is more important – the umbilical cord or placenta? Of course, the placenta regulates all metabolic processes, but the umbilical cord is its continuation, the main transmission link.
Through the umbilical vein, oxygen and nutrients from the mother are delivered to the baby, and carbon dioxide and waste are returned from the baby through the two arteries, which then enter the bloodstream of the woman. Consequently, a vital exchange cannot take place without the umbilical cord, and this means that it is just as important as the placenta.
What happens after the baby is born? The exchange processes between mother and baby stop as the baby begins to breathe and oxygen enters his lungs, which saturates the blood.
The task of the umbilical cord is considered completed, and it is time to cut it. The umbilical cord is clamped in two places (near the placenta and near the baby’s abdomen) and cut between the two clamps.
This procedure is painless because there is no nerve endings in the umbilical cord.
Oddly enough, but it is the cutting of the umbilical cord that is the subject of unabated controversy. Some believe that the umbilical cord should not be touched while the vessels are still pulsating, and you need to wait until all the nutrients that were left in the placenta “get” to the baby. This idea is not new: in the 16th century, the umbilical cord was cut off only after all the blood had left it.
Proponents of the inverse method – cutting the umbilical cord immediately after the appearance of the child – justify their actions by the fact that it is possible to prevent the appearance of physiological jaundice, which is caused by an excess of bilirubin (a breakdown product of excess hemoglobin). Alas, it is still quite difficult to agree or refute this or that statement: neither side has a sufficient number of scientific substantiations of its theory.
Nowadays, there is another topic for discussion: experts have found that the blood that is in the umbilical cord is the source of so-called stem cells. Multiplying, they can “repair” any organ of their growing by leaps and bounds of the “owner”.
Of course, research is still ongoing, but it seems that cord blood has long attracted the attention of physicians. In many countries of the world, commercial enterprises offer parents to freeze and store blood from the umbilical cord of their child. The need for it, or rather, those stem cells, usually arises at the moment when the child becomes an adult and he has serious health problems.
In addition, it is possible to treat with the help of miraculous cells not only the “master,” but also his brothers, sisters, and parents.