What Is An Anterior Placenta?

By Danielle Silo

January 4, 2019

So, your doctor has told you that you have an anterior placenta, what does this mean?

Placenta

The main role of your placenta is to support your baby with oxygen and nutrients and to take away waste. The placenta is an organ that begins to develop where the embryo is implanted in your uterus. It is firmly attached to the lining of your uterus and continues to grow throughout your pregnancy. The placenta is made up of blood vessels and tissue.

Anterior Placenta

The term “anterior placenta” refers to the location of the placenta within your uterus. The fertilized egg (the embryo) will usually implant itself in the posterior side of the uterus, the closest part to your spine. This is where the placenta will develop during your pregnancy.  When the fertilized egg (embryo) implants on the opposite side of the uterus closest to your abdomen and the placenta forms this is call “anterior placenta”. The placenta grows on the anterior side of your uterus and the baby grows behind it.

What does this mean to you?

You might not be able to feel your baby’s early kicks and punches because the placenta will serve as a cushion between your baby and your abdomen. Your health care professional may have a harder time auscultating the fetal heart if you have an anterior placenta. An anterior placenta doesn’t pose any risk to you or your baby’s health.

However, if your doctor says you have an anterior placenta that’s lying quite low in your uterus, it could partially or completely block the cervix and the baby’s way out. But again, because the placenta generally migrates around in the uterus quite a bit during pregnancy, a low-lying placenta very often moves into the upper part of the uterus by your due date. That doesn’t mean the placenta picks up and relocates, but instead, that it migrates upward in the second trimester as the lower portion of the uterus stretches and grows. The vast majority of low-lying placentas move into the upper segment by delivery time, which puts it safely out of the baby’s way. If that doesn’t happen, a diagnosis of placenta previa is made, a condition that occurs in only about one out of 200 pregnancies.

 

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