Everything You Need To Know About A Placenta Posterior

Everything You Need To Know About A Placenta Posterior

1 Dec 2017 | 7 min Read

Sudeshna Chakravarti

Author | 22 Articles

placenta posterior

Pregnancy comes with its own set of dos and don’ts. And a regular visit to your gynecologist is a must to determine your and your baby’s health. 

During pregnancy, prenatal tests are crucial. One of the important routine tests that you have to keep performing throughout pregnancy is an ultrasound.

An ultrasound in your second trimester reveals if you have a condition called placenta posterior also known as posterior placenta. So what does this condition mean? Read on to know how it affects you and your baby.

What Is The Posterior Placenta? 

The placenta is a highly specialized and disc-shaped organ that develops during pregnancy. It is spread within the uterus occupying a fairly wide area and the foetus is connected to the placenta via the umbilical cord. 

It’s a vital organ as it provides nourishment and oxygen to the baby and carries away waste materials. In addition to that, the placenta also helps protect the baby from infections and produces hormones that stimulate the smooth progress of pregnancy and childbirth.

Posterior placenta means the placenta has gotten tethered to the back wall of the uterus and is closest to the spine.

How the placenta positions itself into the wall of the uterus is vital, as that will determine the method of childbirth, either vaginal or cesarean. It will also help to understand the growth and development of your baby.

This can be detected via an anomaly ultrasound conducted during the initial weeks of pregnancy.

The placenta usually develops where the fertilized egg is embedded.  Apart from the posterior position, the placenta can have anterior and low-lying positions. In the anterior, the placenta attaches to the front wall of the uterus. 

The low-lying placenta is a condition where the placenta attaches to the lower section of the uterus causing a pregnancy-related condition called placenta previa.

Let’s have a look at the following image, as it will help you understand the condition better.

In posterior placenta, the placenta gets attached to the back wall of the uterine

Posterior placenta basically means that the placenta has attached to the posterior wall of the uterus. In this condition, women may feel stronger movements, motions, and kicks from the baby, right from the early stages of pregnancy.

A placenta posterior might even be better for the baby as it helps the baby grow and align itself properly in the birth canal before labor, thus favoring a vaginal birth.

How Does Posterior Placenta Affect Pregnancy?

Posterior placental complications have been rarely observed. However, it could affect your pregnancy in the following ways:

  • It can make your cervix difficult to dilate during childbirth
  • This positioning could lead to preterm labor
  • In some cases, it involves the risk of miscarrying
  • It could lead to pregnancy-induced hypertension and the development of gestational diabetes.

However, be rest assured that the posterior placenta will not affect the growth and development of your baby. It will not make any difference to the foetus as long as it is cushioned in the placenta.

What Are The Risks of Posterior Placenta?

Certain complications may arise during labour and delivery

A posterior placenta might not cause severe complications during pregnancy. However, you may experience some complications during labor or delivery.

  • A low-lying posterior placenta may increase the chances of a condition called placenta previa, which might partly or wholly block the cervix, leading to a C-section delivery.
  • In some cases, the placental position can make incisions during C-sections more difficult. It could lead to heavy bleeding during delivery.
  • The posterior placenta also involves the risk of excess bleeding during vaginal delivery too.
  • Women with the posterior placental location may experience severe back pain during labor which could make the delivery process even more painful.

Although the risk to the mother and child could be rare, it’s always a good decision to consult your doctor beforehand and discuss your condition beforehand to avoid these complications.

The following symptoms might indicate a placental issue. If you experience any of them, we suggest you contact your doctor immediately. Signs of placental issues include:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Uterine contractions
  • Severe back pain

Also, if you suffer an impact on your belly during a fall or trauma, get your injuries checked by your doctor immediately. Any injury suffered might affect your placental health and may require a thorough medical examination.

Things to Know About Placental Grading

Placental grading or Grannum classification is the categorisation of the ultrasonographic morphology of the placenta, based on its maturity. It determines the extent of calcification with the gestational age. 

The placenta is grouped into four grades, namely grades 0 to three.

Grade 0: 

  • Here, the gestational age is less than 18 weeks, i.e., between the late first trimester and early second trimester.
  • The placental substance is a uniform echotexture without echogenic areas
  • There are no base layer echogenicities
  • The chorionic plate is smooth, well-defined, and has an unbroken dense line.

Grade 1: 

  • Here, the gestational age is between 18-29 weeks, roughly mid-second trimester to early third trimester
  • The chorionic plate is a well-defined unbroken line, but with fine undulations.
  • This grade is considered the early stage of placenta maturation.
  • The placental substance may contain a few echogenic areas that are randomly scattered.

Grade 2:

  • Here, the gestational age is beyond 30 weeks, i.e., late third trimester
  • The placental substance has linear echogenic densities which are incompletely divided.
  • Larger configurations are present in the basilar plate.
  • The chorionic plate has more marked indentations.

Grade 3:

  • The gestational week is beyond 39 weeks.
  • The placenta is fully matured and the chorionic plate has complete indentations.
  • The basal layer is dense and bigger
  • The placental substance is divided into compartments that demarcate the cotyledons. 

Calcification is considered healthy and normal. However, there are chances of premature calcification in case of underlying conditions such as placenta previa, diabetes or hypertension in pregnancy.

Next, we will answer some frequently asked questions about posterior placenta.

FAQs:

  • Is it good to have posterior placenta?

The placenta can attach and grow anywhere within the walls of the uterus. Having either an anterior or posterior placenta is normal as long as it does not affect the growth and development of the baby.

  • Does posterior placenta mean boy or girl?

Some studies suggest that this condition could lead to giving birth to a baby boy. But more studies are required to back this claim.

  • Can you feel the baby moves more with posterior placenta?

Yes. Since the placenta is attached to the back wall of the uterine, mums may experience stronger movements and kicks.

  • Can posterior placenta cause back pain?

In some cases, posterior placenta can cause back pain during labor. 

Some Myths About Posterior Placenta

There are a few myths about the posterior placenta condition

Myth 1: Posterior placenta heightens fetal movement

Certain studies suggest that in this condition, mothers may feel stronger kicks and movements from the early stages of their pregnancy. However, there isn’t enough evidence to back this claim.

Myth 2: Posterior placenta is the best placental position

According to studies, there is no ‘best’ placental position. But, posterior placental positioning is considered one of the ideal positions as it allows the baby to move to the vaginal canal easily.

Myth 3: Posterior placenta can determine the gender of the baby

There isn’t enough scientific evidence to validate this claim. However, a few studies do indicate a relation between placental position and the gender of the baby.

Myth 4: Posterior placenta may impact the chances of a normal delivery

As long as your placenta isn’t covering the cervix, you can have a vaginal birth. 

Myth 5: posterior placenta can cause preterm labor

There isn’t enough study to validate this claim.

Conclusion:

Posterior placenta isn’t a matter of concern. Any risk arising due to this condition can be managed if diagnosed timely during ultrasound scans. All you need to do is follow your doctor’s suggestions and keep stress at bay. 

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