The important role of the placenta in maintaining the health of babies and pregnant women makes any disturbances in this tissue which has the potential to cause life-threatening complications during pregnancy. Pay attention to the types, risk factors, and symptoms of placental disorders before it's too late.
The baby's placenta begins to form in the uterus early in pregnancy. The function of the placenta is to carry blood that carries from the mother to the fetus, and vice versa. The placenta is also in charge of protecting the fetus from bacterial infections, and plays a role in producing hormones. Under normal conditions, the placenta will shed 5-30 minutes after the baby is born.
Generally, the placenta forms and develops where the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall. Apart from being a supplier of oxygen, carbon dioxide exhaust, and a provider of nutrients for the fetus, the placenta also plays an important role in removing "waste" from the fetal blood.
The role of the placenta, which is so important for a smooth pregnancy, is also accompanied by the risk of developing disorders. Therefore, it is necessary to have regular check-ups with the doctor.
Recognizing the Types of Placenta Disorders
To be able to anticipate, pregnant women must recognize the various types of placental disorders that are most common, such as the following:
- Aplacental abruption (placental abruption)Placental abruption is when the placenta sheds, either partially or completely, from the uterine wall that occurs before the time of delivery arrives. This condition causes the interruption of the availability of nutrients and oxygen for the baby. Placental abruption can occur when the gestational age is past 20 weeks, the symptoms are pain, vaginal bleeding, contractions or abdominal cramps in pregnant women. In some cases, this condition can also have consequences in the form of premature labor and amniotic fluid embolism.
- Placenta previaPlacenta previa can occur when the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix. This condition can cause severe vaginal bleeding before delivery. It is more common in early pregnancy and can develop as the uterus grows. Caesarean section is the only method of delivery recommended for women with placenta previa.
- Placenta accretaPlacenta accreta is a situation when placental tissue grows too deep in the uterine wall. This condition can cause pregnant women to experience bleeding in the third trimester and to lose a lot of blood after giving birth. More serious conditions can occur when the placenta attaches to the uterine muscle (placenta increta), and when the placenta grows through the uterine wall (placenta percreta). This situation is usually treated by cesarean section and in most cases followed by removal of the uterus.
- retained placenta (retensio placenta)In the delivery process, normally within 30 minutes after the baby is born the placenta will also be removed from the uterus. The placenta is called retained if this organ is still attached to the uterine wall and is trapped behind the half-closed cervix for up to 30 minutes or an hour after delivery. If not treated immediately, retained placenta can make the mother lose a lot of blood which can be life threatening.
- Placental insufficiency (placental insufficiency)An underdeveloped or damaged placenta is one of the serious complications of pregnancy. This is known as placental insufficiency. This condition can be caused by insufficient blood flow from the mother during pregnancy. As a consequence, an undeveloped placenta causes the fetus to also not be able to develop so that it experiences abnormalities (birth defects), premature labor, and low birth weight. This condition can be caused by anemia, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, side effects of drugs, and blood clotting disorders in the mother.
These various placental disorders can be caused by many things, but in most cases, it is not known exactly what causes them.
However, there are several risk factors that can increase the chances of pregnant women getting placental disorders. Find out if you have risk factors that make you more likely to have a placental disorder, such as:
- High blood pressure.
- Pregnant women over the age of 40.
- The membranes that rupture earlier before the time of delivery.
- Blood clotting disorders.
- Woman carrying twins.
- Pregnant women who use drugs.
- Women who have had a medical procedure on the uterus, such as a caesarean section or curettage.
- Have experienced an injury to the stomach, such as a fall or an impact on the stomach.
- Have experienced placental disorders in a previous pregnancy.
Immediately consult a gynecologist or a fetomaternal consultant if you experience placental disorders which are characterized by symptoms of abdominal pain, unbearable back pain, vaginal bleeding, and persistent uterine contractions before delivery. Get yourself checked immediately if you have an abdominal injury, such as a fall or an accident. This is so that any abnormalities that may occur can be anticipated early in order to determine the best delivery steps for the mother and fetus.