The placenta is one of the organs of the pregnant woman's body that causes more doubts in women. On the one hand, the important function it fulfills - through it the baby obtains the oxygen, nutrients and food it needs to develop inside the uterus from its mother - and, on the other hand, due to the complications that the place may have where it is located. Today I want to talk to you about what the different positions of the placenta mean in pregnancy.
Did you know that, contrary to what is believed, the placenta does not migrate and does not change position? It attaches itself to a specific place in the uterus and from there it appears to move as the uterine walls grow, but it does not actually move.
It would be wonderful if it could migrate to where we say when it is crossed in the birth canal (placenta previa), however it has other wonderful benefits that I will detail below. But stacks! I am sure the day will come when we can order the placenta to its ideal location and, not only that, the day will come when we can 'program the placenta'. And, also, add qualities or remove defects so that we can avoid very serious diseases such as pre-eclampsia, whose origin is closely associated with the placenta.
Or, perhaps, we will be able to regulate the channels that transport a lot of glucose to the child of a diabetic mother as if it were the Panama Canal, controlling everything that the mother sends to her baby, and discarding all toxins, like that beer that You shouldn't have taken it when you were 25 weeks pregnant or eliminating that nicotine that you breathed in when your friend, the fireplace, couldn't help but smoke a cigarette in the presence of the pregnant woman.
But although we have not reached the era of placental programming, This wonderful organ fulfills many essential functions for the healthy development of the baby and for the protection of the mother-fetus binomial.
In Latin the placenta means 'cake' and, precisely, its appearance is that of a bloody cake made with ground meat. This cake sends oxygenated blood to the baby through the umbilical cord, filters toxins, contains nutrients necessary for fetal development and is involved in the harmony of the amniotic fluid. Once delivery occurs, the placenta is expelled by the uterus, a fact that is called 'delivery', since the work of this cake has already been completed and, therefore, it expires.
The placenta is usually located deep in the uterus, that is, on the opposite side to the opening of the cervix, but what happens if it is located near this hole or even covering the birth canal? It is the so-called placenta previa. There can be three locations of this:
- Marginal placenta previa. It reaches the cervical os but does not cover it.
- Partial occlusive placenta previa. partially covers the cervical os.
- Total occlusive placenta previa. Covers the entire cervical os.
When we have this type of placenta, the most common complication is vaginal bleeding, which can occur at the end of the second trimester of pregnancy or in the third trimester, and which leads to threats of preterm labor and, therefore, admissions to hospitalization to avoid these consequences.
The way we have to diagnose it is through ultrasound and, specifically, the transvaginal one. Once the location of the placenta previa has been confirmed, a cesarean section must be scheduled after 37 weeks. and warn of the risks of bleeding and prematurity. Women who are most at risk of having this placental location are those who have had caesarean sections or a previous scar on the uterus, such as myomectomies or uterine malformations.
There is another condition of the placenta that has increased in incidence due to the excessive and unnecessary performance of caesarean sections without any criteria: the placenta accreta. This type of placenta attaches itself to the muscle of the uterus (placenta accreta), it can infiltrate the uterine wall (placenta increta) or it can even exceed the wall of the uterus and invade other organs such as the bladder (placenta percreta).
The more scars (cesarean sections or surgeries such as myomectomies) your uterus has, the more likely it is to develop this condition that will not allow the placenta to be expelled from the uterus, leading to bleeding and finally the removal of the uterus (hysterectomy).
But calm down! We have a way to diagnose it in time with ultrasound supplemented with Doppler, so that we can warn of complications and schedule an appropriate surgery, reducing the risks for the mother and the baby.
Today our beloved placenta has gained importance beyond the birth in the cosmetic world, and it is that it has been attributed kind properties for the skin, such as its collagen content, which provides elasticity to the skin and is involved in treatments for the acne. So much so that many people want to eat it (placentophagy), in powder form, or capsules, in smoothies, or natural.
There are also cultural reasons why many mothers want to take advantage of their placenta, which is why in many countries there is a regulation in health centers to have to offer the placenta to all parents who have just given birth.
As you can see, the placenta is a kind and necessary cake, but it can become a danger when it is not well located and worse when it is not diagnosed in time. Hence the importance of going to your regular prenatal checkups so that as obstetricians we can warn you of any unusual conditions. I'm sure that this way you can have a safe delivery and, even if you want, you can request your placenta and eat it like a Kardashian.
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