Sometimes, a doctor may discover a circumvallate placenta using an ultrasound. In other cases, they may not diagnose the condition until delivery.
Causes of Circumvallate Placenta
Despite several studies, medical experts have not been able to establish the cause of circumvallate placenta. It has also not been found that a woman can do anything to stop a circumvallate placenta from forming. So, women who have this unusual condition should not blame themselves.
The best news is that it is extremely rare and affects only 1–2% of pregnancies.
Symptoms of Circumvallate Placenta
In many cases, there are no symptoms. In some cases, some signs noted are:
Vaginal bleeding : A circumvallate placenta did cause persistent vaginal bleeding in some cases in the first trimester in a study done on 92 women. But, given the small sample size of the study, this cannot be safely assumed.
Oligohydramnios : This means that the quantity of amniotic fluid is less than normal and it needs frequent monitoring. A treatment called amnioinfusion places fluid in the amniotic sac to replace the lost fluid. This treatment may help prevent underdeveloped lungs or compression of the cord at delivery but more research for a total confirmation.
Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) : PROM occurs when the amniotic sac breaks before the onset of labour, and it can affect up to 8% of pregnancies. If the rupture happens in the first 37 weeks of pregnancy, doctors refer to it as preterm PROM (PPROM).
PROM has several possible causes and risk factors. However, if a woman experiences PROM alongside vaginal bleeding in the second trimester, she may have a circumvallate placenta. The doctor will investigate further.
Inhibited foetal growth :Yes, a circumvallate placenta could slow down baby’s growth.If a baby is not meeting expected growth milestones during checkups, a doctor will likely order tests to try to determine what is causing this issue.
How does circumvallate placenta affect pregnancy and birth?
There are some outcomes related to this condition. Let’s look at each:
Placental abruption: In this emergency, the placenta suddenly detaches, putting the fetus at risk. Placental abruption affected 10.9% of the women.
Preterm delivery: Early delivery affected 64.1% of the women.
Increased risk of neonatal death: Neonatal death occurred in 8.9% of cases.
Increased risk of needing neonatal intensive care unit admission: Of the infants born in the study, 55.4% required neonatal intensive care.
Chronic lung disease: This condition affected the infants belonging to 33.9% of those in the study.
Emergency cesarean delivery: This procedure was necessary in 46.5% of cases. But, some of them were not caused by circumvallate placenta. Hence, this is not a straightforward finding.
Low birth weight: Restricted growth of the foetus is the most common complication of circumvallate placenta. Hence, the baby may be born with a low birth weight.
Placental abruption: This is where the placenta separates from the uterine lining too soon. It causes significant bleeding that puts the mother at risk. The doctors will admit the mum-to-be and monitor very closely.
Oligohydramnios: This condition is used to refer to a decreased amount of amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid acts as a cushion for the baby. It’s also important for foetal development, including lung, muscle, and bone development, and helps keep the umbilical cord from being compressed, which is important for providing nourishment and oxygen to the baby.
In a 2018 study, researchers compared women with a circumvallate placenta with women who did not have the condition but had otherwise similar backgrounds.
The results showed that in 268 matched cases, no significant difference existed between the individuals regarding lower birth weight, preterm delivery placental abruption, or other issues.
The study authors also noted that routine obstetric care is effective in helping women with a circumvallate placenta.
Self-Care Tips for Women with a Circumvallate Placenta
While this condition cannot be cured, the mum-to-be can manage by following a good lifestyle with:
- Adequate rest
- A good, healthy diet to prevent baby’s growth restriction
- Following doctor’s instructions closely.
Can you deliver vaginally if you have a circumvallate placenta?
Circumvallate placenta is viewed as a case that increases the need for a cesarean section delivery. However, there is little evidence to support this. Since the condition is so rare (good news, right?!), it’s difficult to gain quantifiable evidence. Any situation where the placenta begins to decline, or the baby is in distress, could lead to the need for an emergency C-section. However, it’s also possible for women with circumvallate placenta to carry to term and have vaginal deliveries.
Close monitoring will continue and your doctor will help you to create an individualized plan of care for you and your baby.
In summation, circumvallate placenta is a very rare condition so please don’t get worried about it.