Is Anterior Placenta A Cause Of Concern
The placenta position is one of the vital determining factors in the normal delivery of your baby.
The placenta is an organ that is formed and present only during pregnancy. It is a link between the mother and the baby, and provides nutrients and oxygen to the growing baby. The usual placenta position is the upper area of the uterus called the fundus. However, in a few cases, it might be located in some other position, which might create difficulty in a normal delivery. An anteriorly situated placenta is one such condition. Of all anterior placenta risks, placenta previa is the greatest which requires a caesarean section.
What is ‘anterior placenta’?
In rare cases, it the placenta might attach to the anterior (front) wall of the uterus. This condition is known as anterior placenta.
The diagnosis of anterior placenta is confirmed by ultrasound. Typically anterior placenta ultrasound is carried out around 18-22 weeks of pregnancy, as that is the ideal time for confirming the position of placenta.
What is so different about having placenta anteriorly?
Having the placenta anteriorly does not affect your baby’s growth in any way. The placenta continues to function normally, regardless of its position. However, the anterior positioning of placenta may provide an extra cushion between your belly and your baby. This can lead to the following:
- The extra cushion may not allow you to feel the fetal movements or kicks of your baby.
- It also makes it difficult to hear your baby’s heart sounds, as the distance between your baby and the stethoscope increases, due to the presence of the anteriorly placed placenta.
- It makes belly mapping difficult for you; belly mapping is a tool that helps you bond with your baby, it helps you know position of your baby and with few, easy steps you can change your baby’s position. The anterior placenta cushions this movements and makes such mapping difficult.
Is there any risk involved due to an anterior placenta?
During the pregnancy, an anterior placenta is not a cause for concern. But, sometimes it grows or shifts downwards during pregnancy, which means it gets closer to the cervix (cervix is the narrow passage forming the lower part of uterus). This can result in one of the commonest anterior placenta complications i.e. placenta previa, which can cause excessive bleeding during delivery. The best possible option to prevent this excessive bleeding is to opt for caesarean section, commonly known as C-section.
Can the placenta change its position during the course of pregnancy?
Yes, but very rarely the placenta might shift upwards along with the growing uterus. During the growth of the baby in the second and third trimesters, there is an increase in the size of uterus. This can cause the placenta to shift slightly upwards. Thus, instead of remaining anterior, it might become placed upwards and forwards. This usually does not hamper the passage of the baby during normal delivery. Thus, it is possible to have a normal delivery, even if you have an anterior placenta.
Are there any warning signs or major health concerns regarding anterior placenta that need to be kept in mind?
Though an anteriorly placed placenta is never a cause of concern during the pregnancy, it is better to be cautious in case your ultrasound shows one. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is better to consult your obstetrician immediately:
- Abdominal pain
- Severe back pain
- Abnormal uterine contractions
- Vaginal bleeding
Your obstetrician is the best person to decide if a C- section is needed for an anterior placenta or not. Talk to your obstetrician if you experience any of the above mentioned symptoms.
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