Anterior Placenta: Risks and What it Means

Anterior Placenta: Risks and What it Means

What is an anterior placenta?

What are the benefits of an anterior placenta?

Are there any risks?

How common is anterior placenta?

Do you feel anterior placenta kicks?

You’ve got questions, we’ve got the answers.

Simply put, it’s when the placenta attaches to the front wall of the uterus.

While it’s perfectly normal, there are a few things you need to know if you have one.

In this article 📝

  • What is an anterior placenta?
  • Why do I have an anterior placenta?
  • How common is anterior placenta?
  • Does anterior placenta affect baby movement?
  • What are the risks of anterior placenta?
  • What are the benefits of anterior placenta?

What is an anterior placenta?

Before we delve into the “anterior” part of the equation, what is the placenta?

Put simply, it’s this incredible, life-giving organ that develops in your uterus during pregnancy.

Your placenta delivers all the good stuff (oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies) from your bloodstream to your baby via the umbilical cord.

And it does a stellar clean-up job, too, removing carbon dioxide and waste products from your baby’s blood.

Like we said, incredible.

Your placenta develops inside the first couple of weeks of your pregnancy.

Wherever the fertilized egg embeds itself in your uterus after conception, that’s where the placenta forms.

This can happen anywhere in your uterus.

On top, at either side or on the back or front wall.

And when it attaches to the front of your uterus, well you’ve got yourself an anterior placenta, mama.

But here’s the thing.

You won’t know for sure the location of your placenta until you’re between 18 weeks and 21 weeks pregnant.

It’ll only become apparent during your second ultrasound scan.

Is anterior placenta boy or girl?

There are a few theories when it comes to anterior placenta and gender.

The first is that having an anterior placenta means you’re more likely to have a girl; something a 2014 study seemed to reinforce.

Researchers discovered that, after looking at 200 placentas in various positions, 72.8 percent of pregnancies which resulted in girls had an anterior placenta.

Meanwhile, only 27.2 percent of pregnancies which resulted in boys had one.

But the study concluded that more research is needed (this study was only carried out on 200 pregnancies), and it’s not a cast-iron guarantee that you’ll have a girl just because you have an anterior placenta.

So maybe review this list of gender-neutral names to be on the safe side!

Is your belly bigger with anterior placenta?

Some moms swear that anterior placenta = bigger belly, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

The placement of your placenta won’t impact the size of your pregnancy belly.

And with that in mind, there is no single anterior placenta belly shape, either.

Any pregnancy bump could have an anterior placenta, and there’s only one way to tell: by ultrasound.

Can I bend with anterior placenta?

Yes, you can bend with an anterior placenta, but if your bump is on the bigger side, you’ll have to do it gently and slowly.

Sudden bends or twists with an anterior placenta can be harmful to you or baby.

How can I sleep with anterior placenta?

You can sleep the same way with an anterior placenta as with a posterior placenta ‒ ideally on your side (left is best).

It’s best to avoid sleeping on your back while pregnant, as this can put pressure on your inferior vena cava, a blood vessel that carries blood between your heart and uterus.

If you’re struggling to sleep with a big bump, try a pregnancy pillow to ease the pressure.

If you’re not sure which one to get, our Peanut moms-to-be are raving about this adjustable pregnancy pillow by Sleepybelly, which supports your bump, back, and hips, and comes highly recommended by midwives and doulas alike.

Why do I have an anterior placenta?

If your doctor has told you that you have an anterior placenta pregnancy, don’t worry ‒ you’ve not done anything wrong.

It’s not a bad or a good thing, it’s just where baby has decided to implant in your uterus.

And it’s typically luck of the draw ‒ the fertilized egg can implant anywhere in your uterus, an anterior placenta is just one of them.

The only way to tell if you have an anterior placenta is by ultrasound.

An anterior placenta ultrasound will show where baby is in your uterus, but the best way to see it is via anterior placenta 3D ultrasound in your second trimester.

How common is anterior placenta?

An anterior placenta is relatively common, with around 50% of pregnant women thought to have had one.

And, interestingly, a 2013 study found that if your blood type is O-positive, you’re more likely to develop an anterior placenta (although this was only carried out on 474 pregnancies).

The more you know, eh?

Is anterior placenta normal?

Yes, having an anterior placenta is perfectly normal.

It’s not caused by anything you’ve done and it doesn’t mean it’s bad for you or baby.

It’s just where they’ve chosen to make their home for the next 9 months!

Is anterior placenta good for normal delivery?

Generally speaking, the posterior placenta (placenta located at the back wall of your uterus, close to the spine) is considered the ‘ideal’ position for pregnancy and delivery.

You can feel your baby’s movements more easily, nothing is obstructing the scans, and it allows your baby the room to move into the anterior position just before birth.

So, you might be wondering, can you have a normal birth with an anterior placenta?

Well, the answer to that is a resounding “yes”!

Anterior placenta delivery is, by and large, the same as any other birth with a placenta located elsewhere.

That being said, we have to bring that word challenges back one last time, because having an anterior placenta can increase the chances of your baby being in a “back-to-back” position before birth.

This is when their head is down, but the back of their head and their back is against your spine.

Now, chances are your baby will turn to face the right way for vaginal delivery, but if they don’t, you could experience a longer, more painful labor, or require a forceps delivery.

If you’re worried about having an anterior placenta, talk to your midwife or healthcare provider.

And if you want to hear from mamas who’ve been there, done it, and got the anterior placenta t-shirt, look no further than the mamas on Peanut.

Which placenta position is best?

In the battle of anterior vs posterior placenta, who will win?

Well, no one.

While posterior placenta can be seen as an ‘ideal’ place for baby to implant during pregnancy and birth, the reality is that they can implant anywhere in the uterus.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the different places baby can implant and the terms used to describe them:

  • If baby implants at the front of your uterus, it’s an anterior placenta.
  • If baby implants at the top of your uterus, it’s a fundal placenta.
  • If baby implants at the left or right side of your uterus, it’s a lateral placenta.
  • If baby implants at the bottom of your uterus, it’s a low-lying placenta.
  • If baby implants at the back of your uterus, it’s a posterior placenta.

But that placenta placement can be a mix of each of these, so if baby implants to the right at the front of your uterus, it’s a lateral anterior placenta.

Does anterior placenta affect baby movement?

No, an anterior placenta won’t limit how much baby can move, but it may limit how much you can feel baby move.

This is because the anterior placenta acts as an extra ‘cushion’, so it can be harder to feel those anterior placenta kicks, particularly during baby’s first moves (or quickening).

When did you feel baby move with anterior placenta?

Most mamas feel anterior placenta baby movement at about 20-28 weeks ‒ well into their second trimester, and perhaps into their third trimester.

While posterior placenta moms will be able to feel baby’s movement from 16-24 weeks, it can be a little longer before you can feel it with an anterior placenta.

What does baby movement feel like with anterior placenta?

So now you know to expect anterior placenta baby movement a little later, how will you know what it feels like?

Well, it will feel pretty similar to baby movements with a posterior placenta ‒ just a bit later in your pregnancy.

So you may feel those butterfly flutters or ‘poking’ baby kicks that feel a little like gas, but it might be around 20 to 28 weeks before you feel anything.

What are the risks of anterior placenta?

It can be common for mamas-to-be to think “different” = “bad” when it comes to pregnancy.

But the truth is, an anterior placenta carries very little risk to you or your baby.

It’s a perfectly normal place for the placenta to develop, and it will nourish your baby just as effectively as it would in any other position.

However, an anterior placenta can present certain challenges, so let’s cover the anterior placenta risks so you know what to expect:

  • It can “muffle” your baby’s movement, meaning you may feel those first kicks and jabs a little later than other mamas.
  • It can make finding a heartbeat and figuring out your baby’s position difficult (although not impossible) because the anterior placenta is blocking the line of sight for the scans.
  • If your anterior placenta is lower in your uterus (a low-lying anterior placenta), it can cover the cervix as you get closer to labor, which may mean an anterior placenta c-section is on the cards.
  • Finally, it can also result in some lower back pain or back labor.

Is labor more painful with anterior placenta?

Generally speaking, no.

An anterior placenta usually won’t mean your labor and contractions are more painful than a posterior placenta.

However, if you have a low-lying anterior placenta, a c-section may be recommended if baby is essentially blocking their exit route.

Should I worry about anterior placenta?

No. It’s just a perfectly natural placement for a fertilized egg to implant, and there’s nothing you can do to influence it.

Having an anterior placenta doesn’t mean that baby can be harmed or that you’ll have a more painful pregnancy ‒ usually, other factors are at play if that’s the case.

What are the benefits of anterior placenta?

So now we know that with an anterior placenta, feeling baby movements might be later, and trying to find baby’s heartbeat early in pregnancy might take a little longer.

But are there any benefits to having an anterior placenta?

Well, no.

But it is perfectly normal.

Ultimately, as long as your placenta is healthy and baby is in your uterus, then the anterior placenta is doing its job the way it should.


That’s all there is to know about having an anterior placenta ‒ risks, reasons, and what it means for your pregnancy.

So if you have an anterior placenta, you’re certainly not alone, you’ve done nothing ‘wrong’, and it doesn’t mean that pregnancy will necessarily be harder for you.

Whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it right, mama!


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