Anterior Placenta Bigger Belly: Should You Be Worried?
Without any doubt, the placenta plays a critical role during pregnancy in ensuring that the developing fetus is as healthy as possible. It is the organ that acts as a link between the developing baby and the mother.
After the corpus luteum has sustained the baby for the first 12-13 weeks of pregnancy, the placenta normally takes over the duty of providing the fetus with everything it needs for survival till birth. The placenta transfers nutrients, provides thermoregulation, offers a way of waste elimination, gas exchange among many others through the motherly blood.
Away from these well-known functionalities, another aspect of the placenta that is drawing a lot of interest is its location. Sounds funny, right? Yes, the locations of the placenta can be different, but the posterior and anterior locations are the most common. Most of the time, it is the former that occurs in most pregnant women.
Of these two, the one that is appalling is the anterior placenta. In this case, the placenta positions itself between the baby and your belly button. It is this positioning that makes you wonder if anterior placenta bigger belly condition is true.
In this post, I will be discussing this issue and determine if it is indeed true or if there is no correlation at all.
Anterior Placenta, what is it Exactly?
I know you might have gone for an ultrasound, and then you are told that you have an anterior placenta. You might have probably given the ultrasound operator that “don’t be silly” look because her interpretation of the results may have sounded far-fetched.
What this means in simple terms, is that the placenta has implanted itself in front of the baby. More specifically, it is on the walls of the uterus that is flanking your abdominal wall.
So, when you picture your womb from the side and from the belly button, you would have the abdominal wall, uterus wall, placenta and the baby. It used to sound like a fairy tale to me too until I met someone who had it.
On a lighter note, if you are one of those who like talking to the unborn while rubbing the belly, then instead of talking to the baby directly, you will be conversing with the placenta first. Don’t allow me to stop you though.
Causes of Anterior Placenta
Reports indicate that cases of the placenta implantation on the uterus anterior vary from about 26 to 52 percent of the pregnancy cases. The bad news is that what causes it is not known since the placenta is more likely to attach at the back, as it is in front.
The pathology of the human placenta also shows that the placenta does, in fact, shift its position in the course of a pregnancy. It could change from the posterior to the anterior quite a lot as your pregnancy progresses.
The causes the shift is however unknown. For more information about the placenta, its different positions during pregnancy and how it relates to your baby, here is a useful illustration.
Is There a Relationship Between Anterior Placenta and Belly Size?
To some extent, there exists a correlation between the belly size and the anterior placenta. The chances are that if you have an anterior placenta, you will most likely have a smaller belly during the pregnancy.
In fact, most of the moms who have had an anterior placenta report that they have experienced a smaller belly, about a posterior placenta. Although no scientific explanation supports this phenomenon, there exists “midwife explanations” though.
The explanation goes that due to the anterior placenta, the excess water and baby parts can squeeze in between your internal organs. In the case of a posterior placenta, the baby is pushed outwards, leading to larger sized belly during pregnancy.
What is clear is that the location and positioning of the fetus determine the belly size and not the placenta. An anterior baby would result in a big and rounder belly, unlike a posterior-positioned baby.
When Can One Determine If She Has Anterior Placenta?
While in your 20th week, as you go for your anomaly scan, the position of the placenta should be determined. The person doing the sonography will then describe for you in which category yours falls in. It should be any of the following:
Should You Worry?
You already know that worrying too much is never good for your pregnancy, right? Anterior placenta is one of those that should not be of concern to you as it does not affect your baby in any way.
No matter the location of the placenta, it still does its job as it should. There should be no cause for alarm, although there are a couple of issues that you need to be aware of. Such include:
1. If it Becomes Difficult to Feel the Baby’s Movements
An anterior placenta is located between the baby and the abdominal wall. It, therefore, cushions the baby’s movements from being felt from the belly. Those experiencing this condition therefore rarely feel the marvelous baby kicks. It extends up to the second trimester.
However, if it reaches the 24th week before you can feel any kicks and movements, then you need to consult your doctor. You should be able to count the kicks and even determine your baby’s sleep-wake patterns.
2. If hearing the Baby’s Heartbeat Becomes Difficult
Because of the same reason that you cannot feel the baby’s movements easily, feeling the heart beats becomes hard too even if you decide to use a stethoscope. The placenta acts as an obstacle that interferes with the ultrasound scans. It then makes it harder for the midwife or doctor to determine whether the baby is doing alright.
3. If it makes Medical Procedures a Bit Harder
An anterior placenta makes carrying out of certain medical procedures harder than in a posterior placenta. A good example is carrying out of a cesarean section (in case you will need it).
It makes it harder to place the incision and even results in increased bleeding when delivering the baby. The anterior placenta also complicates the amniocentesis procedure, which involves the removal a certain amount of amniotic fluid to test for pregnancy.
The placenta complicates the needle placement process, making the whole procedure slightly harder. And for those who usually look forward to mapping the baby’s position (belly mapping), the process is made trickier. The extra padding added by the placenta blocks the palpating.
Despite all these, you do not have to worry about the placement though as it does not harm the growing fetus.
Precautions to Take
An anterior placenta is located closer to the surface and may be vulnerable to external shocks. Even though the abdominal muscles, abdominal fats, and uterus wall still protect it, you should take extra care to prevent any hard pushes on the belly.
The same goes for any implantation position of the placenta. Any hard push and falls may lead to the damage of the placenta, and then eventually the fetus.
The anterior placenta bigger belly myth is not always true. There exist some women who experience a smaller belly because of the anterior placenta location. But then, the size of your belly does not matter, does it? All that matters is the health of the fetus growing in you.