Life Support

Studies reveal the placenta’s crucial role in healthy pregnancies

By Tina Hesman Saey, 17:20 PM May 30, 2013

Chantelle, 20 years old and 29 weeks into her third pregnancy, was sitting in John Kingdom’s office at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital waiting for a prescription. Her blood pressure was high. Her developing baby, a girl, weighed about 500 grams but at this point should have weighed closer to 1,300 grams.

Chantelle’s two previous pregnancies had failed for reasons she couldn’t fathom, but this time she knew exactly what was wrong. Her baby’s placenta was thick, bulky and riddled with holes. “The...

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