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  1. Margaret did her STEAM project on the placenta. The placenta is often called the Tree of Life due to its function in supporting a fetus during development and because of the veins in the organ resembling the branches of a tree. Margaret’s piece is an embroidery of a tree with each branch of the tree ending in the depiction of a uterus during different stages of fetal development.
    The placenta is highly vascularized, which looks like branches of a tree attached to the “trunk” of the umbilical cord. The placenta is a temporary organ that is responsible for gas exchange, and waste removal and is also the method for providing nutrients to the growing fetus. It is also responsible for secreting the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone that stimulates the production of progesterone to prevent menstruation from happening. Transfer of nutrients, drugs, oxygen, and waste like urine and carbon dioxide between the mother and fetus happens through active and passive transport across the placenta. The placenta also functions as a barrier between the mother’s and the fetus’s cells. Some viruses are able to travel across the maternal-fetal barrier, but for the most part, the placenta keeps the fetus from contracting some illnesses.
    Margaret’s embroidery piece shows different stages of fetal development and how the placenta grows as the fetus grows. At the early stages of development, the placenta is smaller and thicker and is attached to the side of the lining of the uterus. As the fetus grows, the placenta stays attached to the uterine lining, but disperses- becoming larger but thinner.

    Julia Derosier

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