Placental insufficiency

Alternative names
Placental dysfunction

Definition
The placenta is the structure that brings oxygen and nutrients to a fetus, and gets rid of carbon dioxide and other wastes. Placental insufficiency is an abnormal condition of pregnancy, in which the placenta, its membranes, or the umbilical cord develop abnormally and affect the growth of the fetus.

Placental insufficiency also occurs if the placenta does not implant correctly onto the surface of the uterus, and can be caused by multiple pregnancies.

Certain conditions in the mother, such as High blood pressure, can contribute to problems in the placenta. In some cases, the placental membrane can break or leak, allowing fetal blood to mix with the mother’s blood. This can be associated with problems such as Rh incompatibility.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 5, 2012
by David A. Scott, M.D.

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