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Placenta perfection! | Bowling Green, Glasgow Kentucky Birth Photographer

Hi there everyone! This is not my typical blog post but if you are in awe of the placenta and the job it does and want to know more .. you're in the right place!

I love sharing information about all aspects of what I do as a birth photographer and volunteer.

I've invited Chrissy Sanders, of Maternal Transition, to tell us a little more about what's going on in this photo that I was able to capture during a recent training for student midwives!

There’s a lot going on here in this photo, right?

So many hands!

What is happening here?

What you are seeing is a photograph taken during a training for student midwives and other birth professionals. This placenta was kindly provided by a midwifery client who delivered a precious baby girl that morning.

I love this photograph for a few reasons: Three sets of hands, all learning through hands-on facilitation, exploring the anatomy of the only human organ that is comprised of two different sets of DNA. (It is not lost on me the wonder over the fact that the body does not reject this organ!)

Some other things you might notice in this photo are the knot in the cord, the off-center insertion of the umbilical cord, and separated membranes.

Knots in the umbilical cord can raise concern, so to see the mechanics of what happens was an enlightening experience. Because of something called Wharton’s jelly, this knot slid up and down the cord with ease, while the blood vessels inside were protected, maintaining the ability to keep blood flowing despite a fairly tight true knot as you see pictured.

Can you see where the umbilical cord meets the placenta, close to the edge of the organ?

This is called a marginal insertion of the umbilical cord. This means that the cord attaches to the placenta close to the margins, instead of closer to the center. This is considered an abnormal insertion and can sometimes result in decreased blood flow, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), and pre-term birth.

Lastly, I want to address the amniotic sac. Not everyone knows the amniotic sac is actually SACS. The inner membrane is called the amnion, and the outer membrane is called the chorion. If you have ever heard or been told your “fore waters” broke, what that means is that the outer membrane, the chorion has ruptured, but the amnion is believed to still be intact, and therefore your waters have not fully ruptured yet. A really neat fact about the chorion is that is has chorion villi, which also work to absorb the mother’s blood and transfer nutrients to the baby, though not on the same level as the placenta, a very similar job.

The excitement doesn’t stop with the birth, there is still a lot to be learned from the after-birth, this life-sustaining organ created from the DNA of two people. While the placenta may look like a liver steak to some, it tells an amazing story of the pregnancy. It’s no wonder these birth workers couldn’t wait to get their hands on it and explore every detail of it’s story.

Thank you so much, Chrissy, for giving us such great information and being a guest blogger with us today!

*photo courtesy off Maternal Transition fb page

Chrissy Sanders is a DONA trained birth doula, bereavement doula, certified Gentlebirth instructor, and student midwife. She lives in Hardyville, Kentucky with her husband and four children and entirely too many animals. She is expecting her fifth child in January of 2018. She is available for birth support through the end of 2017 and will be taking 2018 off to focus on school and childbirth education. You can contact her through Maternal Transition on Facebook, at, or at 270-590-5863.

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