Different Types of Placenta

Placenta is the most important structure between the maternal and fetal circulation and would be providing the fetus with all its nutrients as well as other immuno-chemical substances from the maternal circulation while helping in expelling the toxic waste produced from the fetal circulation. Apart from this, the hormonal secretions by the placenta will help in maintaining the pregnancy at its optimal levels.

In certain instances, there could be differences in placentas which will make them to be considered as not normal and at times posing higher risk towards both the mother and the baby. Thus, identifying these differences from the norm and anticipating the events that can erupt, would reduce these risks to a great extent. But, it should be remembered that, such detection would not always be possible prior to the delivery of the placenta to the outside environment. Thus, some abnormalities would be detected after delivering the baby and still would be worth diagnosing as many complications can occur in the post delivery phase with relation to such placentas.

When considering different types of placentas, there can be differences in its shape, attachment and in the cord. Following will be some of these placentas which are being considered different to a normal placenta.

Circumvallate placenta

The condition can be diagnosed in the antenatal period by experienced persons handling ultrasound scans, but, it’s being readily diagnosed only after delivering the placenta.  Although rare, the condition seems to be associated with increased loss of fetuses during late pregnancy and ante partum bleeding as well as post partum complications.

Succentuariate lobe

Being a condition where placental tissues occur in isolation with the rest of the placenta with retained attachment to the main tissue bulk, the condition although does not pose a threat at the time of pregnancy can cause problems after the delivery. The reason for this would be the increased risk of retaining the separate piece of placenta within the uterus following the delivery. This can lead to post partum bleeding as well as infections. Thus, inspecting the placenta carefully for the presence of complete cotyledons and looking for breaks in its tissues extensions can suggest such conditions and the need to further evacuate such tissues.

Differences in placental attachment

Usually, the placenta is attached to the inside wall of the uterus only as a glued membrane and would be easily separated when the baby is born. But, in certain instances, the placenta can penetrate the uterine wall and attach itself to the wall tissues directly and strongly. These attachments can be partial as in ‘placenta acreta’, deep as in ‘placenta increta’ or else complete as in ‘placenta pancreta’. The condition will invariably be associated with increased incidence of post partum hemorrhage and retained placenta and should be suspected in all cases of incompletely delivered placentas thus in most instances, surgical interventions would be necessary.

Apart from the above types of placentas, there are other types which will show different types of cord presentations as well.