The placenta is the essential organ that forms during the womb in pregnancy and attaches to the baby via the umbilical cord. It belongs to the baby. It is the only organ essential for fetal survival, but is not needed by the baby post birth, after baby receives the cord blood (1/3 of the baby’s blood supply that backed up into the placenta during birth). It is the organ that gives baby life; it provides oxygen and nutrients, and also filters waste products. It makes hormones that support the pregnancy, help baby grow and develop, and provides protection against bacteria and infection. Toward the end of pregnancy, the placenta passes antibodies from you to the baby, which can provide immunity for up to three months after birth.