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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ After the second month of pregnancy, estriol levels steadily increase as the placenta takes over estrogen production. 344.
▪ If there's any chance it is placenta praevia, it could detach and cause a haemorrhage.
▪ In the case of estriol, the placenta utilizes a dehydroepiandrosterone precursor made in the adrenal glands of the fetus.
▪ It causes many complications, including small placenta size, stillbirth and low birthweight.
▪ Second, the story is a reminder that caffeine, like alcohol, freely crosses the placenta.
▪ The birth is recorded in an odd shot of the nurse gleefully holding aloft the bloody placenta.
▪ The latter looks like a placenta and has the same consistency, too.
▪ These chemicals were getting through the placenta and reaching foetuses in the womb and the eggs of birds and fish.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Placenta \Pla*cen"ta\, n.; pl. L. Placent[ae], E. Placentas. [L., a cake, Gr. ? a flat cake, from ? flat, fr. ?, ?, anything flat and broad.]

  1. (Anat.) The vascular appendage which connects the fetus with the parent, and is cast off in parturition with the afterbirth.

    Note: In most mammals the placenta is principally developed from the allantois and chorion, and tufts of vascular villi on its surface penetrate the blood vessels of the parental uterus, and thus establish a nutritive and excretory connection between the blood of the fetus and that of the parent, though the blood itself does not flow from one to the other.

  2. (Bot.) The part of a pistil or fruit to which the ovules or seeds are attached.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1670s of plants, 1690s of mammals, from Modern Latin placenta uterina "uterine cake" (so called 16c. by Italian anatomist Realdo Colombo), from Latin placenta "a cake, flat cake," from Greek plakoenta, accusative of plakoeis "flat," related to plax (genitive plakos) "level surface, anything flat," from PIE *plak- (1) "to be flat" (cognates: Greek plakoeis "flat," Lettish plakt "to become flat," Old Norse flaga "layer of earth," Norwegian flag "open sea," Old English floh "piece of stone, fragment," Old High German fluoh "cliff"), extended form of root *pele- (2) "flat, to spread" (see plane (n.1)). So called from the shape.


n. 1 (context anatomy English) A vascular organ in mammals, except monotremes and marsupials, present only in the female during gestation. It supplies food and oxygen from the mother to the foetus, and passes back waste. It is implanted in the wall of the uterus and links to the foetus through the umbilical cord. It is expelled after birth. 2 (context botany English) In flowering plants, the part of the ovary where ovules develop; in non-flowering plants where the spores develop.

  1. n. that part of the ovary of a flowering plant where the ovules form

  2. the vascular structure in the uterus of most mammals providing oxygen and nutrients for and transferring wastes from the developing fetus

  3. [also: placentae (pl)]


The placenta (also known as afterbirth) is an organ that connects the developing fetus to the uterine wall to allow nutrient uptake, provide thermo-regulation to the fetus, waste elimination, and gas exchange via the mother's blood supply, fight against internal infection and produce hormones to support pregnancy. The placenta provides oxygen and nutrients to growing babies and removes waste products from the baby's blood. The placenta attaches to the wall of the uterus, and the baby's umbilical cord develops from the placenta. The umbilical cord is what connects the mother and the baby. Placentas are a defining characteristic of placental mammals, but are also found in some non-mammals with varying levels of development. The homology of such structures in various viviparous organisms is debatable and, in invertebrates such as Arthropoda, is analogous at best.

The word placenta comes from the Latin word for cake, from Greek πλακόεντα/πλακοῦντα plakóenta/plakoúnta, accusative of πλακόεις/πλακούς plakóeis/plakoús, "flat, slab-like", in reference to its round, flat appearance in humans. The classical plural is placentae, but the form placentas is common in modern English and probably has the wider currency at present.

Prototherial (egg-laying) and metatherial (marsupial) mammals produce a choriovitelline placenta that, while connected to the uterine wall, provides nutrients mainly derived from the egg sac.

The placenta functions as a fetomaternal organ with two components: the fetal placenta ( Chorion frondosum), which develops from the same blastocyst that forms the fetus, and the maternal placenta ( Decidua basalis), which develops from the maternal uterine tissue.

Placenta (journal)

Placenta is a peer-reviewed medical journal in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. It provides information on scientific and clinical investigations pertaining to placental research and their applications. The journal includes full length and mini reviews, original articles, book reviews, announcements and reports, abstracts of important meetings, and letters to the editor.

It is the official journal of The International Federation of Placenta Associations, which incorporates:

  • Australia and New Zealand Placenta Research Association
  • European Placenta Group
  • Japanese Placenta Association
  • the Placenta Association of the Americas

Usage examples of "placenta".

When Miss Wu asked what the medication was, the doctor replied that it was made from abortus, as it is called there, and placenta, and that it was very good for the skin.

Stillbirths, abortuses, and placentas are in hot demand at the BLI for the dozen or so groups doing hormone research.

The death of the foetus may be occasioned by a diseased condition of the embryo, amnion, or placenta, and also by convulsions or peritoneal inflammation.

Derr had delivered the placenta, I asked Jazzy if she wanted to hold you, but she wanted no part of you.

And last, he already had good indications that it might be possible for a man to carry the fetus with the placenta attached to the omentum, that layer of fatty material on the inside of the lower abdomen.

Porak, after giving some historical notes, describes a long series of experiments performed on the guinea-pig in order to investigate the passage of arsenic, copper, lead, mercury, phosphorus, alizarin, atropin, and eserin through the placenta.

To expedite the extraction, she drew out an arm and amputated it, and finding the extraction still difficult, she cut off the head and completely emptied the womb, including the placenta.

There are many more that can be detected in the early check, before the blastula is implanted in the replicator bed and starts forming its placenta.

We were dealing with a prolapsed umbilical and the placenta had torn away from the uterus wall.

This monster consisted of two females of about the same size, united from the sternal notch to the navel, having one cord and one placenta.

The fragile placenta must be chemically and hormonally persuaded to release from the blood-vessel-enriched uterus, without damaging too many of its multitude of tiny villi, then floated free from the uterine wall in a running bath of highly oxygenated nutrient solution.

All four embryos were in the so-called blastocyst stage, in which the future child consists of a small cellular cluster at one end of a hollow ball of cells that will eventually form the fetal part of the placenta.

The placenta produces a gonadotrophin of its own that is not quite like those of the pituitary.

Lees are among the 150,000 Hmong who have fled Laos since their country fell to communist forces in 1975, they do not know if their house is still standing, or if the five male and seven female placentas that Nao Kao buried under the dirt floor are still there.

Martine one afternoon after a school field trip, a particularly neurosecretory interview with a dying Egg, an Ulanyi embryo who, for complex biological reasons, was never to come to term and would end its existence without leaving its placenta.