Is Anterior Placenta A Cause Of Concern?

Is Anterior Placenta A Cause Of Concern?

27 Feb 2018 | 6 min Read


Author | 1380 Articles

The placenta plays a vital role in supporting the unborn baby throughout pregnancy. It attaches to the wall of the uterus and its position can be anywhere — back, front, right, or left. It transports oxygen and nutrients to the foetus through the umbilical cord.

The placenta can attach anywhere in the uterus to nourish and support your developing baby. | Image Source: freepik

The placenta forms after a fertilised egg implants in your uterus around seven to 10 days after conception. It can attach anywhere in the uterus to nourish and support your developing baby.

It could be along the top, sides, front or back wall of the uterus. Read on to know more.

What Is An Anterior Placenta?

When the placenta implants into the front of your uterus, it is known as anterior placenta. You would know whether you have an anterior placenta during your second pregnancy ultrasound scan when you are 18 to 21 weeks pregnant.

Although having an placenta in anterior position is rare, it is normal. However, there are some anterior placenta risks you should be aware of.

What Is So Different About Having Placenta Anterior?

The placenta anterior position does not make a difference to your baby. The placenta may create an extra space between your stomach and your baby which might:

  • Make certain prenatal tests slightly complex.
  • Take a little longer to feel the baby’s kick.
  • Make your provider a little late to find the heartbeat of the baby.

How Placenta Anterior Affects Pregnancy?

Anterior placenta does not affect the pregnancy or the foetus. However, there is a possibility of anterior placenta risks as it could grow downwards towards your cervix instead of upward.

With placenta previa, the placenta attaches low within the uterus and covers the cervix (a part of it or fully). This could possibly block the baby’s way on while delivery and cause bleeding. Such a condition is known as placenta previa.

An anterior placenta makes it difficult for the doctor to conduct amniocentesis that detects chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus.

The doctors insert a needle into the uterus via the woman’s abdomen for this test. The location of an anterior placenta at the front of the uterus makes this more challenging.

What Are The Complications of Anterior Placenta?

Some of the complications of anterior placenta are:

  1. According to studies, women with placenta in anterior position are at an increased risk of the following conditions:
  1. You may take longer to notice your baby’s movements if you have an anterior placenta as it  cushions  your baby’s movements.
  1. It has been found that women with an anterior placenta are at a higher risk of problems after childbirth (postpartum complication).
  1. Expecting mums are at a greater risk of back labour and have intense back pain during childbirth.
  1. It may cause complications like placenta previa. This may completely or partly block off the cervix, leading to a caesarean delivery. 
  1. An anterior placenta can also pose complications if it’s a caesarean section delivery. The anterior low-lying placenta can make incision placement complicated and complications can also occur during needle positioning during amniocentesis

If you’ve had a caesarean before, it is likely for the placenta to have grown over the old scar, sometimes this can cause the placenta to grow into, and through, the wall of the womb. 

Anterior Placenta and Risks In Delivery

Placenta in anterior position increases the chances of the baby being in a back-to-back (occipitoposterior position). This is when the baby’s head is down, but the back is against your spine.

Having a baby in a back-to-back position during labour increases the chances of:

If the placenta is closer than 20 millimetres from the entrance to the cervix (low-lying placenta) or covers it (placenta previa) at 36 weeks of gestation, doctors recommend caesarean section.

If the placenta is more than 20 millimetres from the cervical opening, a normal delivery can be conducted. It is always advisable to consult a doctor to recommend the best method of delivery.

Some Important Facts Anterior Placenta

  1. Having an anterior placenta doesn’t have an impact on labour or delivery. You can still have a vaginal delivery unless the placenta is covering the cervix.
  2. If you have an anterior placenta, the best sleeping position is on your left side with your knees bent as this allows the baby to get the best nourishment.
  3. At times the placenta is positioned in a way that makes the baby’s location and position difficult to identify.
It is advisable to consult a doctor immediately if you notice symptoms like vaginal bleeding and severe abdominal pain. | Image Source: freepik

When To See A Doctor?

It is advisable to consult a doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms:

If you have experienced a fall or a trauma to your stomach, such as a car accident, visit your doctor. These injuries might affect your placenta’s health and require a doctor’s examination.


Is anterior placenta normal?

Anterior placenta is normal. It does not have a negative impact on the baby. However, it makes prenatal tests difficult. You might feel your baby’s kicks a little later.

How does someone with an anterior placenta feel their babies?

Having an anterior placenta can make it difficult for mums to feel their baby’s kicks. This is so because the baby is cushioned by the placenta lying at the front of the mum’s stomach.

Can you sleep on your back with an anterior placenta?

It is better to avoid sleeping on your back as studies show that it reduces blood supply to you and your baby.

Why does anterior placenta cause back pain?

Back pain during pregnancy is common as your ligaments loosen up and stretch to get your body ready for labour. If you have an anterior placenta, you might experience it more.

If you had back pain during your previous pregnancy or had interim pregnancies, you will experience back pain.

Can the anterior placenta change its position during the course of pregnancy?

Even if you are having an anterior placenta, the placenta can change its position. However, this position is slightly less typical towards the end of pregnancy.

Summing Up

Anterior placenta is normal and there’s nothing to worry about. Get regular prenatal care and visit the doctor regularly . If all precautions are followed, it is possible to deliver a healthy baby in spite of having an anterior placenta.











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