A temporary organ linking mother and fetus — brings nutrients and oxygen to and moves harmful waste and materials away from the fetus.
Scientists are still learning what a “normal” placenta is and how it functions. Many past studies were limited to analyzing the placenta after delivery. New technologies may allow scientists to safely study the placenta during pregnancy. Learning more about the placenta could:
Human Placenta Project (HPP)
Guttmacher, A.E., Maddox, Y.T., Spong, C.Y. (2014).
The Human Placenta Project: Placental structure, development, and function in real time. Placenta, 35(5): 303-4. PMID: 24661567
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<a href="http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/resources/links/infographics/Pages/placenta.aspx"><img src="http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/resources/links/infographics/PublishingImages/placenta_600.jpg" width="600" height="1795" border="0" alt="This infographic illustrates and describes the functions of the placenta for baby, mom and science."></a>