Most people don't give their placenta a second thought, and who can blame them, they have a magical wonderful little person to focus on. However, diving deeper into the health of your placenta reveals the overall health of your body. It shows a picture of what other vital major organs look like on the inside of your body.
What is the placenta and what does it do?
Your placenta is a the major organ that develops during pregnancy to help support your baby. It begins to form during the first few weeks of pregnancy, the formation of the placenta is based off the available nutrients found in the mothers body and blood stream. With each beat of the mother's heart, blood is delivered into the placenta and oxygen and nutrients are provided for your baby. Waste product removal is also another important job of the placenta.
What does my placenta say about the rest of my body?
Many people have heard things said about their placenta such as:
1. Your placenta had some calcification's
2. Your placenta was friable
3. Your placenta was getting old
What do these things mean and how does this affect the health of your body?
Calcifications in your placenta are a telltale sign of calcium consumption and sugar consumption. Calcification's are blockages in the arteries and capillaries of your placenta. They block the vital nutrients that your baby needs to grow.
Having a friable placenta means that the placenta comes apart easily. This is also another sign of poor diet during pregnancy. Having a friable placenta can cause problems during labor, may cause excessive bleeding after delivery, or cause a retained of your placenta.
-Placenta was getting old:
The placenta does not get old as we once thought it did. We now know that the placenta receives proper blood flow up to the end of labor and delivery, however the health of the placenta greatly determines how well the baby tolerates labor. Any improvements that increase blood flow to the placenta will benefit the pregnancy and labor.
Items that cause destruction to your placenta:
Ingesting large amounts of dairy
Taking a large dose of a calcium supplement
Drinking hard mineralizes drinking water
Using calcium based heartburn medications (Tums)
Your placenta is a mirror into the rest of your body. The health of your placenta will also tell you the health of your other organs. A healthy placenta is a sign of healthy vital organs, an unhealthy placenta may indicate that other organs inside your body may be unhealthy.
What are some ways to help boost placental health?
1. Reduce processed calcium. Calcium is not well assimilated into the body. Taking a supplement, using antacids, or consuming large amount of dairy products cause increased calcification of the placenta. If calcium is a concern trying increasing vegetables and fruits high in calcium such as:
-Leafy Greens: Kale, collard greens, spinach, etc.
2. Eat a well balanced, well rounded diet. Adequate nutrition is the most important factor to determining the outcome of your pregnancy. Proper nutrition can make up and fix a multitude of deficiencies or problems a woman may encounter throughout her pregnancy. Consume a whole foods diet, limiting or eliminating processed foods.
3. If you are a smoker, stop smoking. Smoking reduces the oxygen level and blood flow to your baby. There are many factors that cause smoking mothers to be at a higher risk. Healthy start offers a free smoking cessation program, consult your healthcare provider for ways connect.
4. Increase water consumption. Many women believe they are getting adequate amounts of water in their diet. Many women are chronically dehydrated especially in pregnancy. The recommended amount of water to consume during pregnancy is 90-120 oz a day. Adequate fluid intake supports the amniotic fluid volume, reduces blood pressure, reduces braxton hicks contractions, reduces nausea, and helps your liver and kidneys to work more efficiently.
On that special day that your baby arrives, make sure you ask your healthcare provider to tell you the health of your placenta. Some healthcare providers will even give you the opportunity to see your placenta if you would like. It is an amazing organ that was your baby's original home and supported your little one until you could cuddle them in your arms. Our bodies are amazing!
1. A. Frye "Holistic Midwifery" 2008.