The most interesting placenta I’ve seen all year…

TP07Brought to you by my friend and colleague Tara Windmill-Robson of Mindful Midwifery, I have awesome placenta pictures to share today!

But this isn’t only about show and tell; neither of us have seen a placenta quite like this one (and, between us, we’ve seen a lot of placentas!) and we would love to know if anyone else has …

Over to Tara for an explanation in words…

“These amazing placenta pictures were taken after I attended a woman in her home as her independent midwife.

This woman’s placenta is one of the wonderful unusual sorts, the kind that gets me questioning but also very excited and passionate! My client had a normal birth at home after having her first baby by Caesarian section. Her labour and birth was peaceful and by candle light. It was a late spring night, it was windy and there were many trees and owls outside that could be heard calling in the baby, who came into the world quite swiftly and  followed almost immediately by her placenta!


Upon my thorough exploration of the placenta a short time after, I noted that the cord was clearly attached to the chorion. The amnion had slipped back after my client’s waters had spontaneously and naturally broken due to the pressure of the baby’s head, and clearly – as you can see in the photos – the vessels go right through the chorion!  I think these pictures really sum up the intricacies and complexities of this miraculous organ, it can have such  potential fragility and gauziness that can only really be seen and known after its birth. 

I think it’s important to mention here that my practice as a home birth midwife has taken me past the need for intervention unless in an emergency. I do not carry out the rupturing of membranes as a routine at all, as it doesn’t fit with the normal physiology of labour and birth and I strongly believe it is not safe practice to risk doing this at home.  This picture makes me so glad that I don’t routinely break women’s waters and that the women I work with tend to choose physiological placental birth, as unnecessary medical intervention could easily have caused problems and harmed the integrity of this particular placenta.”

TP04Over to you for your thoughts…

(Click on any picture to enlarge it.)

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13 comments for “The most interesting placenta I’ve seen all year…

  1. Lois Butler
    December 17, 2014 at 7:49 am

    One of my clents took a photo of a placenta that was very similar to the one I have just viewed. It was an IVF pregnancy. She had SPOM. There was a double true knot in the cord & cord in the membranes too. Can I email a copy of this to you.

    • December 17, 2014 at 7:56 am

      Oooh, so we can put up more interesting placentas?! In order to save me getting tons of spam from posting my email address, the best way to get in touch with me is via the contact page on this site … you won’t be able to send a pic on the contact form (I don’t think) but that will give me your email address and I can then email you back 🙂

  2. Allison
    December 17, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Hi Sara, I have a couple of pics of interesting placentas which I have permission to use for teaching purposes.

  3. Catherine
    December 17, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Placenta’s are amazing. The most interesting placenta I’ve seen this year had several big fat juicy vessels running through the membranes – thankfully no-one had done an ARM!

  4. caroline
    December 17, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Me, me ,me! I have some great placenta pics to share , Sarah xx

    • December 17, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      Haha well maybe we should do you a blog post too?!

        December 17, 2014 at 6:10 pm

        I would just be happy to get the pics up here for the interest of all! x

  5. caroline
    December 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I am generally totally against ARM and would never do one at home as it is an intervention and who know what could ensue.
    I have actually only done one in the past how many- I -don’t -know-years and that was with a client in hospital.

    I am just pondering though… If an ARM is done (and if it is known where the placenta is situated) and it is not knowingly near or covering the cervical os, it would likely be the baby that was above the bulging membranes ( or the membranes that are closely applied to the baby’s head) so you wouldn’t be likely to inadvertently rupture a blood vessel as the placenta would ideally be above the baby( as seen in these fantastic pics).
    Of course pulling on the cord as in CCT) after the birth would be extremely risky.

    Hmmm.. just musing on it all really..would .love a discussion on this…..

  6. Simone Valk
    December 17, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    the most interesting I had was with a woman, G3P2. She was pushing on hands and knees, fhb was perfect and with the 3rd push a loop of cord appeared. Hartstopping. Thankfully we were in a hospital, thankfully a consultant was just across the hallway and he had the baby withun minutes with a ventouse. Baby had AS 9/10. Ten min later the placenta came and lo and behold it was a velamentous insertion. And inserted I guess below the bony part of the pelvis, hence the prolapsed cord with unaffected FHB.

  7. December 18, 2014 at 7:02 am

    We had a spate vasa previa and unusual insertions a few years back. Pictures are in our website:

  8. Meg
    December 18, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I think this is called a furcate insertion. Patricia Edmonds has a great Facebook Page where people share photos of interesting placentas for discussion.
    I love placentas, one of my favourite things to do after the birth is examine them, although we don’t devote enough time to it in my opinion.

  9. December 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    I had one like this few months ago. I took pictures of it as before that I only used to hear about them. How interesting!

  10. Rachana
    December 21, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Really they are the babies’ waters as is the chorion. Having re experienced having my membranes ruptured during my own birth the understanding I gained as the baby was that my own impetus had been taken from me. That was most distressing and I saw how that imprint had translated into my life where I would be aware of wanting to act towards something that i saw needed doing but would wait for somebody else to initiate it. This was compounded by the use of forceps that turned me. The baby’s organic intelligence says that it knows how to birth itself as does the mother’s body know how to give birth. When the mother is well supported left undisturbed many babies keep their sac intact providing a protective cushion. My daughter was born in the caul with an very tight cord around her neck. It seemed to be a wise move. The placenta is of great fascination. It is an organ of high intelligence and our premature separation from it a primal trauma that most of us carry. The placental healing sessions where people return to their birth and reconnect with their placenta are life changing. Some accounts are in the 2nd edition of Lotus Birth which is also available as an ebook. much love to everybody. xx

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