Placenta (Norm Barker)

Photograph by

Medical Group

About this image

This organ acts as a mediator between mother and child, carefully regulating the exchange of nutrients and metabolites. Somewhat alien in appearance, the placenta has a raw, red surface that melds with the uterine wall as well as a glistening, pearlescent surface laced with vascular tributaries. This surface faces the developing fetus and serves as the attachment point of the umbilical cord. The cord itself, an unassuming rope about the diameter of an adult woman’s index finger, is the universal lifeline, without which we cannot begin to develop.