Abnormalities of the Placenta: What You Need to Know

The most common abnormalities of the placenta are placenta succenturiata, placenta membranacea, placenta accreta, placenta circumvallate, etc.

The placenta is an organ that is responsible for providing nutrients and oxygen to the baby during pregnancy. It also helps remove waste products from the baby. When there are abnormalities of the placenta, it can cause problems for both the mother and baby. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common abnormalities of the placenta and what you need to know about them.

Placenta abnormalities

It can occur in any pregnancy. They are more common in certain situations, such as when the mother is older, has diabetes, or is carrying twins or triplets. Placenta abnormalities can also be caused by certain medications or medical conditions.

There are several types of placenta abnormalities. The most common are:

Placenta succenturiata

This is when the placenta has an extra lobe that lies away from the main mass and is connected to it by membranes containing umbilical vessels. It is more common in twins and triplets.

Succenturiate lobe of the placenta
Succenturiate lobe of the placenta

If the succenturiate lobe is retained following the birth of the placenta may lead to

  • Postpartum hemorrhage: Postpartum hemorrhage is a condition in which a woman bleeds excessively after giving birth, typically due to the placenta being retained.
  • Subinvolution: It’s due to the retained lobe of the placenta, which causes a slowing of uterine involution or shrinkage.
  • Uterine sepsis: Uterine sepsis is an infection of the uterus that can occur after childbirth.
  • Polyp formation: Polyps are growths that can form in the lining of the uterus due to retained lobe. They are usually benign (non-cancerous), but can sometimes be cancerous.

Placenta membranacea

It results from the failure of the chorion laeve in contact with the decidua capsularis to degenerate. It is a very thin and large placenta occupying a large area on the uterine wall. This favors the formation of the placenta previa. Chances of the retained placenta are more, and manual removal becomes difficult.

It may lead to difficult third-stage labor due to retained placenta and increased blood loss.

Placenta accreta

It is a condition in which the placenta attaches too deeply to the uterine wall. This can occur when there is scarring from a previous C-section or another type of uterine surgery.

Placenta accreta is a serious complication that can lead to life-threatening bleeding during and after delivery. If the placenta is not removed completely, it can cause severe blood loss and maternal death.

Placenta increta

It is a condition in which the placenta grows into the uterine muscle. It is a rare condition that occurs in women who have had a C-section before.

Placenta circumvallate

It is a condition in which the placenta has a raised, thick edge. An opaque ring is seen on the fetal surface of the placenta. It is formed by a doubling back of the chorion and amnion and may result in the membranes leaving the placenta nearer the center instead of at the edge as usual.

Circumvallate placenta
Circumvallate placenta

There are possibilities of:

Battledore placenta

In this, the cord is attached to the margin of the placenta and not at the center.

Battledore insertion of the cord
Battledore insertion of the cord

Placenta velamentous

In this, the cord inserts into the membranes away from the placental margin. The vessels then course through the membranes to enter/exit the placenta, putting the fetus at risk for abruption and vasa previa.

Velamentous insertion of the cord
Velamentous insertion of the cord

Vasa Previa is a condition in which the umbilical vessels cross the internal cervical os and lie near or on the fetal membranes, outside of the umbilical cord. It can result in fetal death or severe neonatal morbidity if not diagnosed and managed appropriately.

Placenta marginata

A placenta has raised edges that are less elevated than those of a placenta circumvallate. It is seen as a thick rim of placental tissue around the edge of the disc. When the ring coincides with the placental margin, it is known as placenta marginata.

Abnormalities of the placenta can cause serious complications for both the mother and the baby. If you have any concerns, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.

Treatment of placental abnormalities

It typically involves close monitoring by a healthcare team. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the placenta or stop bleeding.

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