This is one of the critical questions that should be asked by all, especially expectant mothers, and fully discussed by health professionals. Sadly, it is one of those rarely talked about. Placenta abnormalities are serious, life-threatening emergencies. They are a common occurrence that does not only affect the mother but also the baby. In severe, poorly managed cases, there is either a still-birth or the baby is born with a disability, such as CP.

The placenta is an organ that develops in a woman’s uterus during pregnancy. It attaches to the inner wall of the uterus and the baby’s umbilical cord arises from it. It is a very vital organ through which oxygen and nutrients are provided to the baby and waste products from the baby’s blood are removed. It is like a bridge between the mother and the growing baby, through which the baby eats. It then follows that the well-being of the baby depends majorly on the placenta. As pregnancy advances and the baby grows, the placenta also enlarges to meet the need of the growing baby.

The placenta can position itself at the top, sides, front or back of the uterus. This position of the placenta results from where a fertilized egg (called zygote) implants. Usually, fertilization occurs in the fallopian tubes (two funnel-like structures that extend from either side of the uterus to the ovaries and receive eggs when they are shed by the ovaries) as shed eggs move towards the uterus. Fertilization immediately triggers some chemical changes that cause the egg (now called a zygote) to successively divide and implant or attach itself to the wall of the uterus. The spot on the uterus at which the zygote implants itself becomes the spot where the placenta develops from.

 As mentioned above, natural course ensures that the zygote implants itself on the front, back, front or top of the uterus in order not to cover the cervix (neck of the uterus through which the baby would pass during delivery). However, for some reasons, the zygote may implant in the lower part of the uterus, close to the cervix, such that when the placenta begins to grow, it may partially or fully cover the cervix. This condition is abnormal and is called placenta previa.

There are other placenta problems such as placenta abruptio, placenta eccreta, and retained placenta—all these, when occur, could pose serious threats to a pregnant woman and her baby.

Find a detailed discussion on placenta abnormalities and how they could be a potential a cause of CP in a child in the latest edition of our magazine, Cperson. Also contained in the magazine are discussions on constipation in a child with CP,  seizures and ways to manage them, impaired chest wall mobility and its respiratory implications in children with CP, pictorial display of CpCenter’s activities in the past one year, and a lot more.

THESE, we hope, will make a good read to you!!

You can access the e-version here or visit our center @37B Bode Thomas, Surulere, Lagos for a hard copy.

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