Anterior placenta happens in pregnancy when the placenta affixes itself in a particular place in your uterus, namely attaching to the front of your stomach. This is a less common position but in most cases is no cause for concern and won’t affect your baby.
There are many ways your pregnancy could develop slightly differently
from the next pregnant woman. Most of these you don’t need to be concerned
about and are just different rather than something concerning or risky.
Anterior Placenta is one of these pregnancy conditions.
If you have been told you have an anterior placenta and are worried
because you don’t really know what this means for you and your baby, this
article is for you. We have compiled a list of the most common questions to
help with basic concerns.
This advice is only general in nature, however,
and if you are still unclear or worried then you should speak to your doctor.
What is an Anterior Placenta?
The placenta is a disc-shaped organ that transfers nutrients and oxygen
from your body to your baby, as well as delivering waste products from your
baby back into your bloodstream.
When you deliver your baby the placenta should come completely out
afterwards. Most women don’t have to think too much more about the placenta and
what it does.
Anterior placenta is when the placenta affixes itself in a particular
place in your uterus, namely attaching to the front of your stomach.
What is considered normal?
The placenta can attach itself to any wall of the uterus, but most
commonly will be on the top or the side of the uterus.
Another position, known as posterior placenta, is when it attached to
the back of your uterus, closer to your spine.
My doctor hasn’t told me the
position of the placenta
Your doctor will usually check the placental position during the 20-week ultrasound. If you haven’t had this
yet, this may be why you don’t know your positioning. You may also not know
because your doctor has no cause for concern.
Why does it happen?
There have been some studies into what causes this particular
positioning, but the evidence still seems to be unclear. It isn’t something
that you can specifically try to control (nor should you need to.)
Some studies indicate that your blood type may affect placental
positioning, as can your sleep position during conception.
Can a placenta move?
The placenta implants in your uterus and doesn’t move as such, but as
your uterus grows with your growing baby, the placenta could slightly
reposition or migrate.
It may move slightly upward when this happens.
Should I be worried?
While your baby is growing, the position of the placenta shouldn’t
affect his development or his nourishment. There might be a couple of minor
differences to an average pregnancy, including:
If the placenta is between your baby and your baby you might not feel
him kicking or moving as much as if the placenta were differently positioned.
It might make it more difficult for the doctor to pick up on baby’s
heartbeat during the sonogram.
It may also make it more difficult for your doctor to determine the positioning of your baby when your due date
In general, the anterior placenta
isn’t anything to be worried about and won’t affect your health or your baby’s
health or development.
It is something to keep an eye on however so that problems or
complications don’t arise. If you experience any of the following symptoms make
sure that you contact your doctor:
Severe back pain or abdominal pains
If you experience a fall or some other type of trauma your doctor will
also check the health of your placenta to make sure it isn’t compromised.
What do contractions feel like?
Even though there is cushioning between your baby and your belly, your
contractions shouldn’t feel any different as they happen in the uterus itself.
Does it affect my birth plan?
The main reason why a doctor could be concerned about an anterior placenta
is during labour and delivery. If the placenta blocks part or all of the cervix
it is in the baby’s way, and then this is called placenta praevia.
This can cause complications and bleeding,
and may result in a caesarean section delivery to be safe.
Most commonly a placenta that is blocking the cervix will move out of
the way as the big moment approaches.
Another development that commonly occurs with anterior placenta is when
the baby is facing towards his mother’s front, instead of facing towards the
back. This is called occipital posterior (OP),
and can result in labour that is felt more in your back. This can increase your
back pain during labour and can also slow labour down.
Also in some cases, OP means that
a caesarean section delivery is necessary.
Your doctor should discuss all of these possibilities with you if you
have an anterior placenta as your
delivery date approaches. You may not be able to follow a birth plan to the
letter, but that is always a possibility with any birth.
Anterior placenta – In summary
Even before he is born, your baby is already keeping you guessing and
doing things in his own special way. An anterior placenta could be considered
another way your baby just decides to be a little bit different and keep you on
With most pregnancies, it isn’t a reason for
concern. Consider it an early way he is asserting his independence, and maybe
good practice for later in life when he decides to do things the less common
However, if you have hurt yourself or feel any symptoms such as pain or
bleeding that concern you, speak to your doctor.
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