#childsafety | Circumvallate Placenta: Causes, Risks, And Treatment

Circumvallate placenta is a rare condition that affects only 1 to 7% of total pregnancies. Enough research is yet to be done to understand the condition and its causes. For the few women who develop circumvallate placenta, extra monitoring, rest, and lifestyle adjustments are needed to ensure the mother and child’s safety. Keep reading to understand the causes, risks, and management of circumvallate placenta.

What Is Circumvallate Placenta?

Circumvallate Placenta is an abnormally shaped placenta, which affects the exchange of gas, nutrients, and waste products between the mother and child. The placenta has two sides; the fetal side (called villous chorion or chronic plate) and the mother’s side (decidua basalis or basal plate); separated by a placental membrane. Normally, these two plates are uniform; but with a circumvallate placenta, the chronic plate is smaller than the basal plate. This causes the placenta to partly separate from the uterine wall and folds towards the chronic plate. The result is a chronic plate that ”doubles back” on the fetal side and around the placenta’s edges. It reduces the effectiveness of the placenta to serve your baby.

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What Causes Circumvallate Placenta

What Is Circumvallate Placenta?
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Unfortunately, there is no known cause of circumvallate placenta. It is a deformation of the placenta that cannot be prevented or treated. Never blame yourself if you are diagnosed with a circumvallate placenta. High chances are, it has nothing to do with anything you did.

What Are The Signs Of The Circumvallate Placenta?

There are no obvious signs of the circumvallate placenta; it is only deduced from complications such as:

Decreased Fetus Growth Rate

Doctors use the baby’s development as a standard to measure the success of your pregnancy. If your baby is not receiving enough nutrients, there are chances that they will develop at a much slower rate than expected. A retardation in the baby’s growth indicates underlying problems that the doctor will follow through examinations, blood tests, and ultrasound. However, many possible reasons could make the baby’s growth slower, including multiple pregnancies, unhealthy mothers, or unhealthy babies.

Pre-labor Rupture Of Membranes (PROM)

When the amniotic sac membranes break before labor starts, it is called pre-labor rupture of membranes. When PROM happens before the 37th week of pregnancy, it is called preterm PROM (pPROM). Vaginal bleeding with PROM indicates the possibility of placental abruption.

What Is Circumvallate Placenta?
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Vaginal Bleeding

Vaginal bleeding could indicate several complications, but when it happens within the first trimester and remains persistent, the doctor will do an ultrasound to rule out or confirm a circumvallate placenta.

Weak Fetal Heartrate

Whenever the baby has a weak pulse, get to the nearest hospital for examination for the life of your baby. Sometimes, a weak heart rate could be caused by placenta problems like circumvallate placenta.

Risks Associated With The Circumvallate Placenta

Circumvallate placenta poses medical risks to both the mother and baby. A study was conducted to investigate clinical complications of the circumvallate placenta in 92 women by analyzing their pregnancies’ outcomes.

Low birth weight: Circumvallate placenta restricts the absorption of oxygen and nutrients by the fetus. It leads to poor development of the baby and ultimately low birth weight. This is one of the most common risks associated with the circumvallate placenta.

Placental Abruption: Abnormalities of the placenta can lead to placental abruption. This is a very critical condition where the placenta detaches from the uterus before your baby’s due date. Vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, and fast contractions are some of the signs of placental abruption. The American Pregnancy Association points out that about 15% of placental abruption cases end in fetal death, and kids who survive placental abruption are very likely to develop health complications in the long run. When the placenta completely detaches, delivery is the only solution; but partial separation can resolve through bed rest.

Preterm delivery or miscarriage: In the study, women with circumvallate placenta had 64.1% chances of preterm delivery. Without prompt treatment and management, the circumvallate placenta can lead to pregnancy loss or preterm birth.

Neonatal death: Neonatal death refers to the death of an infant within 28days of their life. Poor development caused by circumvallate placenta makes the baby weak and more susceptible to death.

NICU admission: The baby might be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit as soon as they are born for extra care and monitoring.

Oligohydramnios: It is a condition where the amniotic fluid reduces remarkably. A reduction in the amniotic fluid further strains the baby’s development in the fetus and puts the umbilical cord at risk of injury. In the study, oligohydramnios was reported in 3.6% of the cases.

Emergency C-Section delivery: Based on the study’s results, women with circumvallate placenta have 16% higher chances of undergoing emergency caesarean delivery to save the mother or baby’s life.

Diagnosing Circumvallate Placenta

It is possible to detect a case of circumvallate placenta in the second trimester. The doctor might notice the abnormality during the scheduled ultrasound scans or when actively looking for a problem in the placenta. There are high chances that the doctor fails to see the problem. Most cases of the circumvallate placenta are diagnosed after delivery when the doctor physically examines the placenta. Early diagnosis helps to manage the condition and prevent complications like low birth weight.

RELATED: New Mom Shocked Placenta Was Left Inside Of Her

Can Circumvallate Placenta Get Treated?

No, a doctor cannot possibly treat a circumvallate placenta. Instead, doctors treat and manage any complications and put you and the baby under close monitoring.

Treating Complications Of Circumvallate Placenta

What Is Circumvallate Placenta?
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Low Birth Weight And Slow Fetal Growth

Early diagnosis of the circumvallate placenta will prevent low birth weight. The doctor will recommend lifestyle improvements like eating a balanced diet, nutrient supplements, and plenty of rest. Smokers will have to quit smoking.

Placental Abruption

Severe placental abruption might require delivery or hospitalization for close monitoring. You might need IV fluids to raise your blood pressure and blood transfusion to replace lost blood.


The condition is corrected by increasing the amniotic fluid through amnioinfusion.

Preterm Delivery

When preterm labor kicks in, you need to stay in bed. Your doctor might prescribe medicines that will stop contractions by relaxing the uterus and other medicines to accelerate your baby’s lungs development.

There’s no need to freak out if diagnosed with the condition early enough. Your doctor will walk with you all the way to manage any complications. All you have to do is keep your doctor’s appointments and follow their advice.

NEXT: How Having An Anterior Placenta Affects You And Your Baby

Sources: medicalnewstoday, healthline, hindawi

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