At some point in your pregnancy, you probably will hear the term placental calcification.
It may be shortly after your delivery or it may be at an ultrasound scan with your doctor.
Either way, understanding what calcified placenta is can help reassure both your well being and that of your baby.
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Placental Calcification Defined:
Placental calcification happens as the placenta begins to show calcium deposits.
These deposits are a sign of the placenta aging and resemble small white stones.
The areas of the placenta that have these deposits mean that the tissues have died or are being replaced with fibrous tissue.
This doesn’t come with many obvious symptoms.
Usually, you’d find out that your placenta is calcifying either after you have delivered the placenta or during an ultrasound.
In the event of placenta calcification early on in your pregnancy, your pregnant belly may be smaller than expected or your baby may not move as much as needed.
These could be warning signs that the placenta is not working properly.
This is not a common phenomenon, though.
Grading Of A Placenta
In the first 18 weeks of your pregnancy, your placenta is young and nourishing your baby beautifully.
As your pregnancy progresses, your placenta begins to age but continues to look after your baby, often becoming a womb companion to your baby as they play with the umbilical cord.
This aging process is documented by some obstetricians as grading.
Three grades occur throughout this grading process:
Placenta grade 1 happens after 18 weeks of your pregnancy with a few minor changes to your placenta.
Placenta grade 2 is by the time you have reached 30 weeks, your placenta is beginning to show a slight calcification.
Placenta grade 3 happens around your due date, your placenta is showing a fair amount of calcification.
Usually, your baby and placenta are delivered before the calcification on the placenta has become a medical concern to your baby’s well-being.
Impact of Placental Calcification on Pregnancy and Unborn Baby
Fortunately, your doctor monitors both you and your baby throughout your pregnancy.
Usually, this happening is not a reason for alarm.
If your doctor has reason to be concerned that your placenta is aging too quickly, they may perform more tests or ultrasounds to monitor your baby.
Most pregnancies experience a standard aging of the placenta.
A small minority of women encounter early placenta calcification in their pregnancies.
Placenta Calcification And Placental Insufficiency
Should your placenta have significant calcification during your pregnancy, your baby is at risk of not receiving enough oxygen or nutrients.
If your placenta begins to calcify early in your pregnancy, you may find your placenta is headed towards placental insufficiency.
Placental insufficiency occurs when the placenta is no longer giving your baby all it needs to grow and develop.
What You Can Do
Once your placenta starts to calcify you can’t stop it.
However, you are not powerless.
By listening to your doctor and coming in for regular testing, ultrasound scans, and fetal non-stress tests you will be able to know what is happening inside your womb.
Both your baby and placenta need calcium to grow and develop your baby.
Taking the recommended amount of 1200mg of calcium daily with a good dose of vitamin D will help provide your baby and placenta calcium without them taking the calcium from your own bone stores.
Monitor your blood pressure; high blood pressure and diabetes can increase your risk.
Remember that placenta calcification from 37 weeks onwards is considered normal. Should your placenta start calcifying early, don’t stress.
Generally, you and your baby are fine. Only in rare cases is labor induced or a C-section required.
Enjoy Your Pregnancy
Since placenta calcification is unavoidable, enjoy your baby and your pregnancy.
Relish those moments when your baby kicks you or stretches itself giving you a bump or two to caress.
Pregnancy is the privilege of participating in a creative miracle, a miracle of life.