Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Physicians
Site Search

Anatomy of a normal placenta
Anatomy of a normal placenta


Placenta
Placenta


Definition:

Placental insufficiency is a complication of pregnancy in which the placenta cannot bring enough oxygen and nutrients to a baby growing in the womb. The placenta is the organ that develops during pregnancy to feed a developing baby.

See also: Intrauterine growth restriction



Alternative Names:

Placental dysfunction



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Certain medical conditions and habits in the mother can lead to placenta insufficiency. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking

In some cases, the placenta may not grow big enough, especially if you are carrying twins or more.

Placental insufficiency may also occur if the placenta does not attach correctly to the surface of the womb, or if it breaks away from this surface or bleeds.



Symptoms:

A woman with placenta insufficiency usually does not have any symptoms.



Signs and tests:

A pregnant woman should receive proper prenatal care. The health care provider will measure the size of your growing womb (uterus) at each visit, starting about halfway through your pregnancy.

Tests that may be done include:

  • Pregnancy ultrasound to measure the growth of the baby (may be done more often than in a normal pregnancy)
  • Monitoring of the baby’s heart rate (nonstress test)


Treatment:

Treating any underlying medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, is important, and helps to improve the baby's growth.

Your doctor may tell you rest in bed for some or all of the remainder of the pregnancy.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

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.

In some cases, placenta insufficiency leads to an abnormally low weight in the baby, a condition called intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). This increases the chances of complications during pregnancy and delivery. For more information, see: IUGR



Complications:



Calling your health care provider:



Prevention:

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 illicit drugs can interfere with the baby's growth. Avoiding these substances may help prevent placental insufficiency and other pregnancy complications.



References:

Baschat AA, Galan HL, Ross MG, Gabbe SG. Intrauterine growth restriction. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 5th ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 2007:chap.29.




Review Date: 5/23/2008
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine; Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Find What You Need

Events
Careers
Foundation
About Us
Contact
Directions
News
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Information
Ebola Information

Support Services

Support Groups
Care-Van
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:

 

Address

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100