The placenta is the link between you and your baby. When the placenta does not work as well as it should, your baby can get less oxygen and nutrients from you. As a result, your baby may:
Placental dysfunction; Uteroplacental vascular insufficiency; Oligohydramnios
The placenta may not work well, either due to pregnancy problems or social habits. These may include:
Certain medicines can also increase the risk for placental insufficiency.
In some cases, the placenta:
A woman with placental insufficiency usually does not have any symptoms. However, certain diseases, such as preeclampsia, which can be symptomatic, can cause placental insufficiency.
The next steps your provider will take depend on:
If your pregnancy is less than 37 weeks and the tests show that your baby is not under too much stress, your provider may decide to wait longer. Sometimes you may need to get more rest. You will have tests often to make sure your baby is doing well. Treating high blood pressure or diabetes may also help improve the baby's growth.
If your pregnancy is over 37 weeks or tests show your baby is not doing well, your provider may want to deliver your baby. Labor may be induced (you will be given medicine to make labor start), or you may need a cesarean delivery (C-section).
Problems with the placenta can affect the developing baby's growth. The baby cannot grow and develop normally in the womb if it does not get enough oxygen and nutrients.
Complications associated with placental insufficiency may include:
Getting prenatal care early in pregnancy will help make sure that the mother is as healthy as possible during the pregnancy.
Smoking, alcohol, and other recreational drugs can interfere with the baby's growth. Avoiding these substances may help prevent placental insufficiency and other pregnancy complications.
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Rampersad R, Macones GA. Late- and postterm pregnancy. In: Landon MB, Galan HL, Jauniaux ERM, et al, eds. Gabbe's Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 29.
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