The placenta is an incredible organ, belonging to both you and your baby. It's the only transient organ in the human body, meaning that it grows and stays temporarily, leaving once it's fulfilled its purpose. Connected to your baby by the umbilical cord, it releases hormones which help your baby to grow, while also supplying them with nutrients and oxygen. The placenta is also responsible for carrying waste products, such as carbon dioxide, back to your bloodstream to be disposed of.

What does it mean to have an anterior placenta?

The placenta develops wherever the fertilised egg embeds into your uterus. Your sonographer will check the position of your placenta during your 20-week scan, to ensure its position won't affect your pregnancy. An anterior placenta simply means your placenta is attached to the front wall of your uterus, between the baby and your tummy. It's a completely normal place for it to implant and develop. It isn't connected to having a low-lying placenta (called placenta previa) and it shouldn't cause you problems.

What difference does it make to my baby's movements?

Most women first feel their baby move somewhere between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. It's common for anterior placenta mums to feel first movements later than those with a placenta elsewhere, as their placenta cushions those early wriggles. Regardless of placenta position, if you reach the 24th week of pregnancy without feeling movement, let your midwife know.

As your pregnancy progresses, it's important to get to know your baby's normal pattern of movement. If you have an anterior placenta try and focus on your sides and lower down, as this is where you're more likely to feel movement.

Although feeling movement can be trickier for anterior placenta mums, your baby should still develop regularity to their movement. If you feel as though your baby's movements have slowed down or stopped, it's important not to assume your placenta is the reason. Call your midwife or maternity unit straight away if you have any concerns. 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOUR BABY'S MOVEMENTS

What else should I know about having an anterior placenta?

There are a couple of things that are helpful to be aware of, but they may not affect your pregnancy.

Amniocentesis is a test that will be offered to you if there is a higher chance your baby could have a genetic condition such as Down's Syndrome. Having an anterior placenta can make it more difficult for your doctor to perform this test, so they will take extra precautions to avoid the placenta. Having an anterior placenta does not increase the risk of miscarriage during an amniocentesis procedure.

If your placenta is at the front of your uterus, the chance of your baby being in a back-to-back position increases. Most babies move into the ideal birth position during labour, only 5-8 out of every 100 babies stay in a posterior position. When a baby is back-to-back, labour can be more painful, longer and the likelihood of needing a caesarean increases. Your midwife will be able to monitor the position of your baby.

Anterior placenta mums tend to experience lower back pain during pregnancy. It's a common pregnancy complaint and there are things you can do to help ease irritable back pain

Is there anything I can use to help monitor my baby's movement?

The most important thing - your intuition. Listen to your body and trust your instincts!

We know that keeping track of your baby can be easier said than done when you're busy though. Available via our shop, our-award winning wristbands can help. The wristbands help you track movement episodes and get to know your baby's normal routine, making it easier to recognise a reduction or change.

LEARN MORE ABOUT KICKS COUNT WRISTBANDS

Why is monitoring my baby's movements so important?

Despite thinking her baby's reduced movement might be because of her anterior placenta, proud mum Lorna called her maternity unit. Her precious daughter was delivered shortly after.

READ THEIR STORY

If you have any concerns about having an anterior placenta, always discuss them with your midwife or doctor.