Early on in your pregnancy, you’ll start to grow a new structure in your uterus called the placenta. And by 10-12 weeks, the placenta is usually visible on an ultrasound. And at each scan after that, the placenta positioning is likely to be noted in your medical file – and you’ll find out if you have a posterior placenta, fundal placenta, anterior placenta, or lateral placenta.
In this article: 📝
- What does the placenta do?
- What is meant by placenta positioning?
- What is placenta previa? (low-lying placenta)
- Does it matter what position my placenta is in?
- What does it mean to have a posterior placenta?
- Does posterior placenta mean you’re having a boy?
- So, is posterior placenta normal?
What does the placenta do?
Your placenta connects to your baby via the umbilical cord, and its job is to support the development of your growing little one. The placenta transfers oxygen and nutrients, while taking away any waste from your baby’s blood. It’s like your baby’s little temporary home.
During the third stage of labor, after your baby is born, you’ll also deliver the placenta.
What is meant by placenta positioning?
The placenta can grow in any part of your uterus, and it’ll be attached to the wall. We have official names for the various positions a placenta can implant: posterior placenta, fundal placenta, anterior placenta, and lateral placenta.
You can also have a low-lying placenta, also known as “placenta previa”.
What does posterior placenta mean? This is where the placenta attaches itself to the wall of the uterus nearest the spine. Some say that mamas-to-be feel stronger baby movements when their placenta is in this position, but this isn’t proven.
What does anterior placenta mean? This is where the placenta becomes attached to the wall nearest the mama-to-be’s stomach (the front). Some say you can’t feel the baby move quite as strongly, because the placenta’s positioning can act as a bit of a “barrier”.
What does fundal placenta mean? Also known as fundic placenta, this is where the placenta grows at the top of the uterus. This isn’t usually a cause for concern, because it can still do its job of providing all the nutrients your baby needs. But if you get symptoms like back pain or bleeding, it’s best to contact your doctor.
What does lateral placenta mean? A lateral placenta is attached to either the right or left side of the uterus.
What is placenta previa? (low-lying placenta)
This is where the placenta covers the cervix, either partially or completely. When the placenta is in this position, there’s extra risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery, including heavy bleeding or an early birth. You’ll be monitored closely if you have placenta previa, and if the positioning doesn’t change, it’s likely you’ll need a caesarean section for your delivery.
Does it matter what position my placenta is in?
Generally, no it doesn’t really matter for the common three placental locations of fundal, anterior, or posterior. But placenta previa can indeed be concerning, because your cervix is blocked. While there’s no “cure” for this, there are treatments that can help manage symptoms if you get them, which your healthcare provider can recommend.
What does it mean to have a posterior placenta?
Some reports say that mamas-to-be can feel stronger baby movement when the placenta is in their back area, but there’s not a lot of hard evidence to support this.
And while there’s no “best” position for the placenta per se, posterior placenta is thought by some to allow the baby to move into the correct position for labor more easily, and it doesn’t directly affect your chances of a vaginal delivery for the baby.
Does posterior placenta mean you’re having a boy?
There’s no evidence that the location of the placenta means boy or girl. There might be lots of theories, and even some limited studies, but more research is needed to really find a link (if it’s there). The best way of finding out the sex of your baby is if it can be seen on an ultrasound, or if you have it included in any blood tests you have done in early pregnancy.
So, is posterior placenta normal?
Yes, a posterior placenta is completely normal and shouldn’t be any cause for worry. But if you’re worried about your placenta positioning, or how much you can feel your baby’s movements, then chat to your healthcare professional – they’re there to help.