- placental dysfunction
What is going on in the body?
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
- defects of the placental membranes
- defects of the umbilical cord
- abnormal implantation of the placenta in the uterus
- a break in the placental membrane that causes the baby's blood to mix with the mother's blood
- Rh incompatibility, a condition in which the mother's blood is not compatible with the baby's blood
- being pregnant with twins or triplets
- previous low-birth-weight infant
- long-termhigh blood pressure
- severekidney disease
- insufficient weight gain by the mother during pregnancy, defined as less than 10 pounds
- preeclampsiaoreclampsia, conditions which raise the mother's blood pressure
- high altitude
- drug addiction, such as addiction to cocaine
- blood thinners such as warfarin
- immunosuppressive medications
- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in the mother
- alcohol abuse
- infection withcytomegalovirus,toxoplasmosis,rubella, orsyphilis, known collectively asTORCH infections
- poor nutrition of the mother
- unborn child with known birth defects or chromosome abnormalities
- frequent vaginal bleeding due toplacenta previa, a condition in which the placenta is attached to the uterus over or near the cervix
- certain blood disorders in the mother, such assickle cell anemiaorthalassemia
- premature placental separation, known asplacental abruption
What can be done to prevent the condition?
pregnancy ultrasound scans to check the condition and size of the placenta
alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels in a sample of the mother's blood
- amniocentesis to check for problems with the baby's chromosomes
avoid close contact with persons carrying the rubella virus or cytomegalovirus
avoid toxoplasmosis, by not coming in contact with uncooked meat and animal excrement, especially from cats
avoid alcohol, smoking, and illicit drugs
- get treatment for high blood pressure and diabetes
How is the condition diagnosed?
Long Term Effects
What are the long-term effects of the condition?
What are the risks to others?
- 8-fold higher risk of death during delivery
- 5-fold higher risk of poor oxygenation at birth that may lead tocerebral palsyand other complications
- hypothermia, or low body temperature
- hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar
- 30 to 40% chance oflearning disabilities
- premature delivery
- poor tolerance of labor
- increased chance ofcesarean birth
- increased chance of having birth defects
- increased chance ofmeconium aspiration, in which the baby inhales some of the amniotic fluid during labor
- polycythemia, which is an excess of red blood cells
- hypocalcemia, which is too little calcium in the blood
What are the treatments for the condition?
- stop smoking
- stop taking illicit drugs, such as cocaine
- stop drinkingalcohol
- eat a healthy diet that includes more than 2500 calories per day
- rest in bed during the day, lying on the left side as much as possible
- take low-dose aspirin to prevent tiny blood clots from forming in the placenta, as well as to dilate, or open, the blood vessels
- pay attention to the movement of the baby, any contractions, or rupture of the membranes ("breaking water") earlier than expected
- deliver in a hospital setting
- have the baby monitored electronically during labor
- use as littleanesthesiaas possible and no narcotics during labor
- have acesarean birthor forceps delivery if fetal distress is detected
What are the side effects of the treatments?
What happens after treatment for the condition?
How is the condition monitored?
- nonstress testing performed weekly or biweekly, to monitor uterine contractions
- biophysical profiledone weekly or biweekly
- Doppler umbilical artery waveforms, a special test for baby's health
- pregnancy ultrasound scansevery 10 to 14 days
Understanding Your Body, Felicia Stewart, Felicia Guest, Gary Stewart, and Robert Hatcher, 1987
Maternity and Gynecological Care, The Nurse and the Family, Irene Bobak, Margaret Jensen, Marianne Zalar, Mosby Co., 1989