What Disorders Can Affect the Placenta During Pregnancy?
The Importance of the Placenta and Fetal Development
The placenta plays a vital role in fetal development. Not only does the placenta provide your baby with oxygen, but it also delivers nutrients that your baby needs to grow and filters away fetal waste. When the placenta's function is compromised, not only can it block oxygen and nutrient supply, but it can also disrupt hormone production and put the fetus at risk of infections.
Knowing these risk factors and the common disorders that can complicate placenta effectiveness can help mothers take charge of their pregnancy health.
Placenta Complications and Risk Factors
The following are some of the most common disorders and the risk factors associated with each.
While the exact cause of placenta previa isn’t known, it typically occurs when the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix. If you have placenta previa, you may experience severe bleeding during pregnancy and delivery, or preterm birth.
Risk factors of placenta previa may include:
- You’ve already had a baby.
- You’ve had placenta previa with a previous pregnancy.
- You are carrying multiple fetuses.
- Scars on the uterus from prior surgery, such as cesarean deliveries or removal of uterine fibroids.
While placental abruption is uncommon, it is a serious pregnancy complication. The placenta develops in the uterus and attaches to the wall of the uterus to keep the baby supplied with oxygen and nutrients. When the placenta partly or completely detaches from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery, the supply of oxygen and nutrients can be cut off and cause the mother to bleed heavily. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening for the mother and baby.
Risk factors of placental abruption may include:
- Having placental abruption in a previous pregnancy.
- Hypertension and problems related to hypertension such as preeclampsia.
- Membrane ruptures that cause leaking amniotic fluid before the end of pregnancy.
- Infections in the uterus.
Also referred to as placental dysfunction, placental insufficiency occurs when the placenta does not form correctly or is damaged. When this happens, the baby will receive an insufficient amount of nutrients and oxygen and cause growth delays.
Risk factors of placental insufficiency may include:
- Having hypertension or cardiovascular disease.
- Maternal diabetes.
- Taking blood thinner medications during pregnancy.
Placenta accreta happens when the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall. After childbirth, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. However, with placenta accreta, part or all of the placenta stays attached and can cause severe bleeding and blood loss after delivery. Women diagnosed with placenta accreta are considered high risk, and c-section delivery and a hysterectomy may be necessary.
Risk factors of placental accreta may include:
- Prior C-sections or uterine surgery
- Placenta previa
- Previous childbirth (the more pregnancies you’ve had, the higher the risk of placenta accreta)
Placental infarcts are areas of dead tissue found in the placenta and are usually caused by blood vessel issues. Placental infarcts can decrease blood flow to the affected areas and, in the most severe cases, the fetus may not grow, or it can cause fetal death.
Risk factors of placental infarcts may include:
Harmed by a Medical Professional? We Are Here For You.
When medical professionals misdiagnose or fail to diagnose conditions that cause pregnancy problems, victims have the right to seek compensation for injuries that could have otherwise been treated. The Beasley Firm has, for decades, represented mothers and their children faced with placental disorders, and has recovered funds for those families to care for the children, and compensate for the damages caused by mismanagement of placental disorders.
The Beasley Firm, LLC has secured record-breaking settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients, and we want to help you too.
Contact our medical malpractice attorneys at (215) 866-2424 for a free consultation.