anterior placenta

When having the 12 week scan, you could possibly be diagnosed with anterior placenta.

This is a pregnancy condition that shouldn't alarm you, but that it's certainly good to know about. The concept behind it is a problem regarding the location in the uterus where your placenta implants after the egg gets fertilised. Normally, the placenta attaches to the posterior side of your womb, close to the spine, but there are other times when it embeds in the anterior part, in other words, the front wall of your uterus. The latter is what's known as anterior placenta.

What are its consequences? Does it pose any serious risks for you or your baby? Keep reading to find answers to these and other important questions about this issue.

Anterior placenta: The place does matter

What are the implications of your baby developing in the opposite side of your uterus? When it comes to your baby's health, you have to know that anterior placenta won't put him in danger at all. To him, it's just a matter of shifting positions, as simple as it sounds, because this organ will nourish him the same way as if it was placed the other way around. And what about you? You may be wondering. Well, the only symptom you may experience or, better said, not-experience is a smaller chance to feel your baby's initial activity in the womb, like his first kicks. This happens because the placenta acts as a barrier between the abdomen and your little one, whose first punches will be inevitably cushioned by the anterior placenta.

Anterior placenta: No risks... so far

Though, as said already, anterior placenta on its own isn't health-threatening, it can become the first step toward placenta previa, another condition that does need to be taken seriously. Placenta previa takes place when the organ is lying low in the uterus, which can perfectly happen when having anterior placenta, and it partially or completely covers the cervix. If the birth canal isn't free in the last stage of your pregnancy, you may need to have a C-section for delivering and you may undergo haemorrhages. 

Another problem involving anterior placenta can occur if you are offered amniocentesis, which is based on extracting amniotic fluid to learn genetic information about your little one. The doctor may have more trouble trying to find the foetus's heartbeat, before proceeding with the amniocentesis.

Finally, there are very rare cases in which the anterior placenta penetrates the uterine wall by covering an old scar of a previous C-section. If you get to that point, you'll be monitored extra carefully to decide when it's the best time to be operated on.

Placental 'care'

There's no way to predict whether your placenta will locate in the anterior, posterior, fundal or low place in the uterus. However, there are certain habits that can help you increase the chances of developing a healthy placenta. Try:

  • Having a balanced diet, with lots of leafy green vegetables and whole grains. Cut down on salt!
  • Work out and stay active, always under medical advice
  • Avoid sudden movements that, for example, make your body bend forward
  • Don't miss any scheduled check-up with the doctor. Remember that ultrasounds are very accurate when it comes to revealing the position of your placenta. This can also help your doctor plan ahead, and around, for future tests.

If you are wondering if there's any treatment to fix anterior placenta, the answer is no. That being said, it's important to point out that most anterior placentas tend to migrate to a more posterior location as your pregnancy goes by, so relax! You should only start to be a little nervous if the doctor confirms placenta previa. And, still, it won't involve any consequences as long as it doesn’t persist beyond 28 weeks pregnant.

All in all, anterior placenta will most likely resolve itself without having any impact on your pregnancy. If it did, the worst-case scenario would be getting placenta previa and needing to have a C-section, with eventual bleeding. But as long as that doesn't occur, let's stay calm and enjoy these fantastic days, in which the foetus is experiencing such fascinating growth spurts... no matter where it's lying!