Dr. Ahdoot explains what women should know about the placenta and if there is a link between placental insufficiency and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).
They should know that the placenta is the single most important buddy system for their baby. If anything compromises the placenta, in turn you compromise what happens to the baby.
The placenta is basically the barrier between the mother and the baby. So even though the mother can be as healthy as possible, do the best diet, go to the best physicians and hospitals. If for some enteric reason the placenta has insufficiency, all that well care does not transfer to the baby. So that’s why we monitor the fluid around the baby, that’s why we monitor the growth of the baby, and that’s why we ask women to get involved by letting us know if the baby is having normal fetal movement or not.
In situations where there is decreased fetal movement, the first place we look is placenta and placental sufficiency. How is the fluid around the baby? How is the baby’s growth? And then we do what’s called non-stressed or contraction stress test to see in the event that there’s a contraction, how does the fetus handle that situation.
Imagine running a marathon. If you don’t have Gatorade it’s kind of hard to keep up. So you eat a good meal and then by running the first five miles you can tell how your body is going to respond. So during the testing in the office or at the hospital, if we notice that the fetus is not handling the situation well despite the fact that the mother has been hydrated well, that’s a sign for us to intervene.
There is a direct relationship between growth retardation and placental insufficiency. In simplified terms, if there is a condition of hypertension, the blood vessels may not be able to deliver blood supply to the placenta, as well as somebody who doesn’t have hypertension or the reason is underlying hypertension.
As a result, just like if you eat less food you become malnourished, a fetus who depends on the placenta for nutrition, if there’s placental insufficiency the amount of blood or food delivered to the baby decreases therefore, it can turn into growth retardation.
About Dr. David Ahdoot, M.D.:
David Ahdoot specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. He attended medical school at the University of California San Diego Medical Center. Later he went on to do his internship and residency at the University of California Irvine Medical Center. With more than 16 years experience, Dr. Ahdoot is a Diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.