Anterior placenta

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Philippe Gloaguen
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It is one of the descriptions that the expectant mother can find in the ultrasound report: anterior placenta. But what exactly does that mean?



In this article

  • what is the placenta
  • the locations of the placenta
  • consequences for pregnancy and childbirth of the anterior placenta

What is the placenta, in short

The placenta is the organ that supports the development of the fetus during pregnancy. The metabolic and nutritional exchanges between maternal and fetal blood take place through the placenta: nutrients and oxygen reach the fetus and waste substances are removed from the fetus. 



Furthermore, the placenta is the site of intense hormone production and complex immunological phenomena, which help protect the fetus from the mother's immune system. 

The positions of the placenta

La placenta it is formed starting from embryonic cells and its actual development begins with the implantation of the embryo in the uterine mucosa: the cells that will give rise to the placenta immerse themselves in this mucosa and like tiny roots begin to branch.



The placenta can enter various places in the uterus:

  • adhered to the bottom of the uterus which, contrary to what it would seem, is the upper part of the uterus. In this case we speak of placenta fundica;
  • on the posterior uterine wall, the part closest to the spine: posterior placenta;
  • on the anterior uterine wall, the one closest to the maternal abdominal wall: anterior placenta;
  • on side wall of the uterus, right or left;
  • in intermediate positions, for example partly anteriorly or posteriorly and then extends to one of the two sides: right anterior lateral placenta or left posterolateral placenta etc.
  • below to partially or completely cover the mouth of the cervix: previous placenta.

To be clear, the anterior placenta is located roughly between the maternal stomach and the fetus. 

The consequences of the anterior placenta for pregnancy

In general, the placenta insertion position does not cause any problems with pregnancy or delivery unless it is a placenta previa, which is actually an indication for caesarean section.



Specifically, there are no major consequences in the case of an anterior placenta. However, it should be noted that due to the position of the placenta, placed as a pillow between the fetus and the maternal abdomen, in this case the woman could do it is more difficult to feel fetal movements, especially in the beginning when the fetus is still small. Furthermore, in the case of an amniocentesis, an anterior placenta can make the test a little more complicated (as always, the advice is to contact centers and operators with great and proven experience). There may also be greater difficulties for operators in detecting the fetal heartbeat. In case of need for caesarean section, however, particular attention must be paid during the incision, to avoid incising the placenta itself. 

Read also: Amniocentesis and CVS: what are the real risks and what precautions to take to reduce them

To learn more

  • the placenta
  • placenta and pregnancy
  • previous placenta
  • placenta accreta
  • placental abruption in pregnancy

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  • anterior placenta
  • prenatal diagnosis
  • placenta
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