What Factors Affect the Development of the Placenta?

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  • Written By: Andy Hill
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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A healthy placenta is essential for fetal growth and development in the womb. General lifestyle choices are the biggest factors that can affect how the placenta develops, with a healthy diet and a measured intake of pregnancy supplements, such as calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, being important parts. Placental development will be impaired through the taking of recreational drugs, alcohol intake and smoking during pregnancy.

The main factors affecting the healthy development of the placenta are those that come automatically with a healthy, balanced eating program and lifestyle. A well-rounded diet is required to ensure that placental cells receive the vitamins and minerals that they need to grow successfully and attach the embryo to the uterus wall. In general, the nutrients found in meat, fish and vegetables are required, so women who don't eat some of these items, like vegans, will typically need to take nutritional supplements. It is important for a woman not to overdose on some supplements, because excessive levels of vitamin A and vitamin C can also have a detrimental on the placenta.

Taking recreational drugs and alcohol can seriously disrupt the successful development of the placenta. A good deal of research has been done on how certain lifestyle choices can hurt a pregnancy, especially smoking. Maternal smoking affects the placental cells before it damages the unborn child. This restricts the growth of the placenta and, in turn, its functionality.


The placenta is an essential component of pregnancy, and its development can be compromised through the increased cell death that can result from maternal smoking. This organ has characteristics similar to those of the human heart, and the effect that smoking has on the heart can be replicated within the placenta. Smoking can increase a woman's risk of miscarriage and premature labor, and it can also lead to reduced birth weight if the pregnancy continues for the full term.


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Post 2

@Grivusangel -- Oh, but that's scary! I'm thankful I had a completely uneventful pregnancy. One is all I'm going for, but I'm so glad she was born without any complications.

I have to wonder how mothers can stand putting substances in their bodies like illegal drugs, knowing it could seriously harm their babies. I just don't get it.

Post 1

But sometimes, bad things can happen with a placenta, even in a healthy mother who has a healthy lifestyle.

My friend's daughter was about eight months into her second pregnancy. Her first had been completely uneventful. She started having some spotting and called her doctor, who advised her to go to bed, put her feet up and call if it got worse. It got worse, so she called and when she told him how much it was, he said meet him at the ER.

Her placenta ruptured on the way and her mom said it was like a horror movie because there was so much blood. Her heart stopped twice in the ER because of blood loss, but they got it started again. Her baby weighed four pounds and change, and he's a healthy little boy now. His mom opted for a hysterectomy before she left the hospital. So it can happen even to healthy moms.

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