During pregnancy, the placenta, a very complex organ, grows inside the uterus. It serves as a connecting cord between the mother and fetus and is in charge of supplying the growing child with oxygen and necessary nutrition.
A medical disorder known as placental insufficiency occurs when the placenta does not adequately transmit oxygen and nutrients to the fetus during pregnancy. It is also known as placental dysfunction. In placental insufficiency, the placental vascular remodeling is affected and placental functionality gradually gets poorer.
Placental vascular remodeling means transformation of the small spiral uterine arteries to large placental vessels in order to provide enough blood supply to the placenta. The placental blood flow is impacted by this process, which results in low oxygen levels in the blood and growth restriction for the fetus. Any restriction in nutrients may impact fetal growth while it is in the uterus. This nutrient restriction is known as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).
Placental insufficiency is linked to blood flow problems. While maternal blood and vascular disorders can trigger it, medications and lifestyle habits are also possible triggers.
Any restrictions in the placental blood flow can lead to hypoxemia, which activates proteins involved in the clotting of blood within the placenta.
Placental insufficiency may also occur if the placenta doesn’t attach properly to the uterine wall, or if the placenta breaks away from it (placental abruption).
These are common risk factors that make you more likely to have placental insufficiency:
- chronic high blood pressure (hypertension)
- blood clotting disorders
- certain medications (particularly blood thinners)
- drug abuse (especially cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine)
Signs and symptoms
Placental insufficiency doesn't have any obvious signs. Nonetheless, some indicators can result in an early diagnosis.
- The mother may notice that her baby bump is smaller than in previous pregnancies.
- The fetus may also be moving less than expected.
- Vaginal bleeding or preterm labor contractions may occur with placental abruption.
Complications for mother:
Usually, placental insufficiency is not regarded as a life-threatening condition. But if the mother has diabetes or hypertension, her risk of complications may increase. During pregnancy, the mother is likely to experience these complications:
- preeclampsia (elevated blood pressure and end-organ dysfunction)
- placental abruption (placenta pulls away from the uterine wall)
- preterm labor and delivery
Complications for baby:
Placental insufficiency can cause these complications for the baby:
- greater risk of oxygen deprivation at birth (can cause cerebral palsy and other complications)
- learning disabilities
- low body temperature (hypothermia)
- low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- too little blood calcium (hypocalcemia)
- excess red blood cells (polycythemia)
- premature labor
- cesarean delivery
When you see a gynecologist in bahria town rawalpindi or obstetrician, they may perform these tests to diagnose placental insufficiency:
- Blood tests that enable medical professionals to assess liver health of the fetus.
- An ultrasound that enables your doctor to observe your placenta, determine its size, and determine the size of the developing baby.
- Fetal stress test, this test monitors how fast your baby's heartbeat is going.
The chances of your baby's well being will increase if any placental problems are discovered in their early stage.
Placental insufficiency does not have an effective treatment. However, treating any underlying problems that may be present such as diabetes or high blood pressure, may benefit the developing baby.
- You may have to go through routine tests more often, to make sure the baby is still developing healthily.
- You may need to keep a daily record of when the baby moves or kicks.
- You might get steroid injections if there is a chance of premature birth. The baby's lungs are made stronger by steroids that dissolve through the placenta.
- You may get a prescription for low-dose aspirin and vitamin supplements. These can help the placenta in attaching itself to the uterus.
- You may need intensive outpatient or inpatient care if preeclampsia or intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) becomes severe.
- If your pregnancy has passed the 37th week or your baby is in danger, your doctor may induce labor. If labor can’t be induced with medication, you may have to give birth through a cesarean section.
Placental insufficiency can’t be cured, but it can be managed. Early detection is the key to successfully managing the symptoms. Make sure you’re getting good prenatal care, and consult your gynecologist in johar town lahore if you think anything’s wrong. This can improve the baby’s chances of normal growth and decrease the risk of birth complications.