The placenta is the organ the pregnant body develops to make the blood connection between the mother and the baby. It provides oxygen and the nutrients necessary for the baby’s growth in the uterus through the umbilical cord. 

It also produces and regulates some hormones during pregnancy, such as chorionic gonadotropin and progesterone.

The placenta is essential for the fetus’s survival. So, any issues with it could lead to compulsory bed rest, growth restriction due to placental insufficiency, premature birth, and even the baby’s death or the mother’s death.

Next, check out what complications can affect the placenta during pregnancy:

Placenta previa

The placenta usually implants in the upper part of the uterus, and it can change places during pregnancy.

However, in some cases, the placenta will implant in the lower part of the uterus. Blocking the cervix partially or totally, making it difficult and sometimes impossible for the baby to pass through the vaginal canal during birth.

Placenta previa is a common cause of bleeding (painless) throughout pregnancy and even during or after delivery, leading to severe blood loss.

In some cases, the pregnant woman may have to be monitored at the hospital. Your health care provider may recommend blood transfusions or even an emergency c-section.

Your doctor will more likely make one of those recommendations depending on how firmly and deeply the placenta attaches to the uterus (placenta acreeta). The firmer it attaches, the more difficult it is to stop the bleeding after its removal. If the risk of severe blood loss is more significant, it may reach the point where the doctor may need to remove the mother’s uterus due to the risk of death.

Since the placenta can change places over nine months, the warning signal is usually turned on only if it is still placed as placenta previa (lower in the uterus) in the second trimester.

This assessment will take place around 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Some of the risk factors for placenta previa are:

having already undergone cesarean sections

previous twin pregnancies

cigarette smoking

drug use

and women being over 35 years of age during pregnancy.

To avoid the consequences.

Doctors usually ask the pregnant mother to reduce activities and stress and rest to avoid the risk of premature birth (total bed rest depending on each case). Oh, and Sexual abstinence may also be recommended!

Placental Abruption

Placental abruption is a condition where the placenta separates partially or totally from the uterus during pregnancy.

The situation is dangerous because it can lead to bleeding and premature birth. In general, the abruption (detachment) will cause a lot of pain, and the uterus will get stiff.

Absolute bed rest is recommended in less severe cases. In others, an emergency c- section is the best option. Placental Abruption happens more often after the twentieth week of pregnancy.

Higher risk group for placental abruption are:

older women;

women with high blood pressure;

those with a history of abruption in a previous pregnancy;

women who have undergone uterus surgery (such as removal of a myoma);

pregnant mothers who suffer trauma to the belly (such as an accident);

those who smoke or make use of drugs and pregnant women with excessive amniotic fluid.

Calcification (Ageing) of Placenta in Pregnancy

As the pregnancy progresses, the placenta undergoes a process of maturation (it deteriorates).

So, by the end of the pregnancy term, it will have matured to what doctors call “grade 3” of aging, and that’s fine because the baby is ready to be born. But sometimes, due to different issues, calcification (aging) may occur earlier. The placenta ends up being classified as grade III before 34 weeks of gestation.

When this calcification aging of the placenta occurs, the baby receives less oxygen and nutrients, which may cause growth restriction and low birth weight. The deterioration of the placenta causes obstruction of oxygen, which can damage the baby’s brain in severe cases, may be fatal.

As it is not symptomatic (the mother won’t feel any symptoms). It ends up being discovered by the doctor during routine sonography exams. However, some mothers may notice a reduction in the child’s movement.

Nevertheless, do not be concerned with these placental age grades: the degree of maturity alone does not indicate problems or premature birth.

Blood clots in the placenta

It happens when a clot totally or partially clogs a blood vessel in the placenta, causing thrombosis of a part of it, thus impairing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. The problem can be restricting the baby’s intrauterine growth (premature delivery and/or low birth weight) to abortion.

Blood clots in the placenta usually occur in pregnant women who have or developed thrombophilia while pregnant (an abnormality of blood coagulation that increases blood clots’ risk in blood vessels). 

The condition can be avoided with simple measures :

physical activity,

compression stockings,

acetylsalicylic acid – aspirin (daily injections)

and medical monitoring.

It also does not cause symptoms and can be detected by ultrasound – the mother, however, may notice a decrease in the baby’s movements.

Read next:

+ What can you do with the placenta?

+ Prepare yourself for more frequent doctor’s appointments

+ Premature birth: what you need to know

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