I am not the first person who has considered composing poetry to the placenta. One writer begins: “Oh Lady Placenta! What a life you lived in magenta.” Another almost coos to the “constant companion, womb pillow friend.” It might sound like odd inspiration for verse, but it’s entirely justified.
This vital organ, which is fully formed by about 12 weeks, nurtures a growing fetus throughout pregnancy, offering oxygen, nutrients and antibodies and eliminating waste. The placental cells forge a deep connection between mom and baby, a symbolic early step in a lifelong bond.
Recent research suggests a placenta that works properly might be even more important than previously thought. Myriam Hemberger of the Babraham Institute and the University of Cambridge, along with colleagues in England and Austria, looked at more than 100 genes in mice that are known to be necessary for an... Read More
With the promise and pitfalls of umbilical cord blood samples in mind, how should parents decide whether to put their baby’s blood on ice, either for their own family’s future use or as a donation for the greater good? It’s a tricky calculation, one... Read More
Umbilical cords tie mother and baby together, if only for a brief spell. But the stuff inside these cords has the potential to be useful well after birth. Cells in umbilical cord blood are already being used to treat certain diseases, including... Read More
When you’re pregnant, especially for the first time, you have to make a lot of decisions. Will coffee remain a part of your life? Where are you going to give birth? What are you going to name the baby? What values will you teach him? Do you really... Read More
As I’ve been reporting a story about the opioid epidemic, I’ve sorted through a lot of tragic numbers that make the astronomical spike in deaths and injuries related to the drugs feel more real.The rise in the abuse of opioids — powerfully addictive... Read More
When you’re pregnant, you spend a lot of time on scales. Every doctor appointment begins with hopping (or waddling) up for a weigh-in. Health care workers then plot those numbers into a (usually) ascending curve as the weeks go by.A morbid curiosity... Read More
Ultrasounds during pregnancy can be lots of fun, offering peeks at the baby-to-be. But ultrasounds aren’t just a way to get Facebook fodder. They are medical procedures that involve sound waves, technology that could, in theory, affect a growing... Read More