Anterior, posterior or fundic placenta: what does it mean in pregnancy?

The placenta is a complex organ that adheres to the walls of the uterus at different locations. In some cases, it is located in the lower part and this could cause problems during pregnancy.

Last update: 02 July, 2022

Anterior, posterior, or fundic placenta are medical terms used to describe the place where the placenta attaches after fertilization occurs. They have nothing to do with abnormalities or diseases.

Many wonder why it is important to establish this aspect. The answer is that determining whether there is an anterior, posterior, or fundic placenta allows to predict the moment in which the mother begins to feel the fetal movements. Also, detect if there is any alteration in the location of the placenta.

How is the location of the placenta established? An ultrasound should be performed, which is a regular part of prenatal check-ups. Once it is established whether there is an anterior, posterior or fundic placenta, the mother has more information about her pregnancy.

the placenta

The placenta nourishes the baby during gestation.

The placenta is the only human organ that is provisionally present., only in the female body and during pregnancy. It looks similar to the liver and is full of blood vessels.

The fundamental role of this organ is to provide the necessary nutrients to the fetus. Also, since the baby does not breathe inside the womb, it only consumes the oxygen that reaches it from the placenta, through the umbilical cord.

The placenta adheres to the walls of the uterusbut not always in the same place. Typically, it is located at the top, front, back, or side. From there arises the anterior, posterior or fundic placenta. If you look at another area, there may be problems during pregnancy.

The anterior, posterior, or fundic placenta

There is talk of anterior placenta when this organ is located on the front wall of the uterus. It is called “anterior” precisely because it is located “before” the uterus as such. It can be located in the left or right zone, but always in the front part of the uterus.

The posterior placenta is located in the area of ​​the fundus of the uterus. In other words, is attached to the wall of the uterus that is closest to the back of the mother. As with the anterior placenta, it can be located on the left or on the right.

It is given the name of placenta fundica to which it is located in the upper part of the maternal uterus.. It’s the one closest to the fallopian tubes, and experts say it’s by far the best location for the placenta. Also, it is known as “high anterior placenta”.

The movements of the baby according to the location of the placenta

The anterior placenta is normal, but this position makes the movements of the fetus sit later than usual. The usual thing is that they are only perceived until after 28 weeks of gestation, because this location cushions the movements of the fetus. If there is no movement after that period, it is necessary to consult with the doctor.

In the case of the posterior placenta, it is very likely that the movements will be felt earlier than in the case of the previous. A doctor should only be consulted if such movements do not occur or decrease at a given time.

When there is placenta fundica, the usual thing is that fetal movements appear between 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy, for new mothers. If there have been previous pregnancies, it is possible that they are perceived in weeks 16 to 18.

The anterior placenta falls

As noted above, the anterior, posterior, or fundic placenta is considered normal. Nevertheless, there is a possibility that the placenta is fixed in an inappropriate area and that this brings with it some complications for the pregnancy.

When there is a low anterior placenta, it means that this organ was fixed in front of the uterus, but very close to the internal cervical os or even covering part of it. It is common for this to lead to bleeding late in the second trimester, without pain.

Types of low anterior placenta

There are several types of low anterior placenta, depending on its location. They are the following:

  • Type I or low-lying placenta. In this case, it does not reach the cervix.
  • Type II or marginal placenta. It reaches the opening of the cervix, but does not cover it.
  • Type III or partial occlusive placenta. The placenta partially covers the cervical opening.
  • Type IV or total occlusive placenta. The cervical os is completely covered by the placenta.


Causes

Why does this type of anomaly occur? There are several reasons that give rise to this placental location. The main ones are the following:

  • multiparity. When a pregnant woman has had two or more deliveries.
  • Multifetal pregnancy. When there are several fetuses, as in the case of twins, triplets, etc.
  • Previous cesarean section.
  • abnormalities in the uterus. For example, fibroids or previous curettage.
  • Previous surgeries in the uterus.
  • Advanced age of the mother.
  • smoking.

Treatment

In the presence of bleeding, treatment usually includes hospitalization.

In case there is a low anterior placenta, the doctor will evaluate what treatment to follow. This will depend on the severity of the case and the general health of the mother.. When the first episode of vaginal bleeding occurs, the following actions are carried out:

  • Hospitalization. The goal is to observe.
  • modified rest. It consists of avoiding any activity that increases intra-abdominal pressure for a long time.
  • Interruption of sexual intercourse. Sex in these conditions can be risky, which is why it is interrupted.

If the bleeding stops, the mother is discharged. Delivery takes place at 36 or 37 weeks. In case there is a second episode of bleeding, the patient must be hospitalized again until delivery.

The doctor will tell you if there is a problem with the placenta

Type IV low anterior placenta is the most delicate condition of all. It is common for it to cause heavy bleeding towards the end of pregnancy, when the cervix transforms and prepares for childbirth. It is very important to follow the indicated treatment strictly.

There is another type of anomaly known as “placental accreta” which is not very common. It occurs when the placenta fails to adhere or has some degree of invasion into adjacent areas. In this, as in other cases, any strange symptom should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible.

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