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What Is An Anterior Placenta?

5 min read

The state of a placenta and its position play an important role in pregnancy. Before understanding anterior placenta, you should know how the placenta does develops.
When the fertilized egg gets implanted in the uterus, the placenta will start to develop at that very spot after a week. By the end of the first trimester, the placenta will be fully developed.
What is anterior placenta

What Is An Anterior Placenta And How Does It Form?

Usually, the fertilized egg gets implanted in the posterior uterus, close to the spine, and the placenta in due course, develops at that site. Occasionally, the egg gets implanted in the front wall of the uterus, close to the abdominal wall and the placenta eventually develops there, with the baby behind it.

Does Location Of Placenta Make Any Difference In My Baby’s Development?

No, an anterior placenta doesn’t make any difference in the development of the baby. The baby does not care whether it is in the spinal side or your frontal, as long as she is all cushioned up in the placenta in the uterus.

How Does Anterior Placenta Get Diagnosed?

Your anomaly scan at 20 weeks will reveal the anterior placenta and the sonographer will note down its position as one of the following:

  • If the placenta is lying on the front wall of the uterus, it will be noted down as anterior placenta
  • If the placenta is on the spinal side of the uterus, the position will be noted down as posterior
  • The position will be noted down as fundal if the placenta is lying on the top wall of the uterus
  • If the placenta is formed on the right or left side of the uterus, your sonographer will note it down as right or left lateral

What Difference Does An Anterior Placenta Cause To Me And My Medical Examiner?

Having an anterior placenta will create issues for you and your specialist, though not so much for the baby. Let’s see how:

  • It will be pretty tricky for your doctor to assess the heartbeat of your child through your abdominal wall as your child occupies the other side of the placenta
  • As the placenta act as a well-cushioned wedge between your tummy and your baby, the kicks and movement of your baby can’t be feel often
  • A little more advanced issue is that anterior placenta could make amniocentesis (examining amniotic fluid to diagnose chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome and other defects) more challenging

These are not as simple issues as they sound. Because noticing the movement of the child is vital during pregnancy. Similarly, listening to the heartbeat of the baby is also very important for your doctors. Amniocentesis is very important if the mother is over aged (above 35 years) or possesses a previous history.

When Should I Worry About My Anterior Placenta?

If you are diagnosed with anterior placenta during anomaly scan it doesn’t mean that it is time to worry. This is because the placenta often migrates during pregnancy. That is, even though the placenta is implanted in the anterior position, there are still chances that the placenta will get carried upwards to the posterior position as the uterus grows. The doctor will go for a repeated scan between 32nd and 36th week of pregnancy to confirm the position of the placenta. Even the scan during 36th week shows no change in the position then you can confirm an anterior low lying placenta, which is not a good news.

Is Anterior Placenta More Vulnerable To Damage?

Although the placenta is protected by the thick wall of the uterus, abdominal wall and abdominal muscle, an anterior placenta is more vulnerable in case of getting a hard blow in the stomach because it is closer to the surface of the abdomen.

What Are The Complications Of Having An Anterior Placenta?

Anterior placenta generally doesn’t affect the health of the mother during pregnancy. But during labor and delivery anterior placenta can cause complication when it grows down instead of growing up.

  • Women with anterior placenta are found to develop back labor causing severe back pain and more painful contractions during labor
  • The risk of postpartum hemorrhage is high during vaginal delivery
  • Anterior placenta, when grows down, partially or completely blocks the cervix developing a condition called placental pervia. Placental pervia often increases the risk of preterm delivery. Vaginal delivery will be difficult as the chances of profuse bleeding increases. Caesarian delivery is the only option during such condition. You can read more about Placenta Previa here
  • When your child is in breech position, usually your doctor performs an external cephalic version – a procedure used to turn the child from breech position to head-down position as a part of trying a vaginal birth. This can’t be successfully done with a low-lying placenta. Read more about it here

Anterior placenta

Complications Of Anterior Placenta During A C-section

The low lying anterior placenta can cause complication when you are supposed to undergo a planned or emergency C-section.

    • Increases the risk of bleeding: As the placenta is lying low in the front of the uterus just below exactly where your obstetrician needs to make the cut to deliver your baby, the risks of heavy bleeding during the surgery increases. To prevent this from happening an ultra sound is used to assess the exact location of the placenta in a planned C-section to help the surgeon to decide the safest position for making the cut
    • Can develop placental accreta: This is a rare condition occurs when the placenta grows too deeply into and through the uterine wall. When you undergo a caesarian previously, the chances of the anterior placenta develop over the area of the previous wound increases leading to placental accreta.
      This again can be detected in an ultra sound scan. But a risk is always there as:

      • Placental accreta triggers premature delivery
      • Detaching placenta from the uterine wall manually can result in heavy bleeding
      • The uterus can be damaged during the process of removal of placenta

But once you have to undergo an emergency caesarian with no time for an ultrasound scan, you will fall under higher risk of bleeding at birth. Making arrangement for blood supply if needed should be taken care of.
Now let us go through some research results before signing off, though the reasons are yet to be found out and proved:

      • Anterior placenta increases hyper tension during pregnancy
      • Women with blood group O-positive are more vulnerable to an anterior placenta
      • Birth weight of babies is found to higher when the placenta is in anterior positions
      • Anterior placenta increases the need for an induced labor
      • The sleeping position of women during the egg implant has a role in deciding the position of the placenta

All the risks arise due to anterior placenta are manageable nowadays. So leave the worries to your doctor and enjoy your pregnancy with proper care and also following the guidelines of your doctor.

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