I complete the glands that make up the endocrine system and learn there is also a secondary endocrine system made up of organs (not glands). The placenta is a part of this secondary system. It is a temporary structure that forms in the uterus during a pregnancy.
The placenta, among other things, provides various hormones including oestrogen and progesterone, important in maintaining a pregnancy as well as preparing the mother for birth. Placenta, known as afterbirth, is delivered or expelled from the body.
Placenta is Latin for cake and Greek for flat and slab like – think food and nourishment / give and take. The organ connects a developing fetus to the mother’s uterine wall allowing for respiration, nutrition, thermoregulation, waste elimination, gas exchange, fighting infection and producing hormones to support the growing life.
Did you know the placenta develops from the same sperm and egg that form the fetus? It connects to the fetus by the umbilical cord (2 arteries and 1 vein). Rich in blood vessels it has no nerve cells. It is not under the control of the brain or spinal cord. I wonder what this means exactly? No connection to the brain and spinal cord, then what controls the process?
Today we celebrate mothers. I think about the symbolism of the placenta. Is it like earth – that sustains and provides? I don’t know, you tell me.
Happy mother’s day – to mine, yours, and ours.