Question about "calcified placenta": does it NEED induction? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 11-25-2009, 04:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I am pregnant for the second time and hope to avoid the "mistakes" of my first delivery experience. With my first pregnancy, a special appt set up with the consulting ob/gyn at 38 weeks to discuss my birth plan (v rare at my maternity hospital) turned into an order for immediate induction following the routine u/s and a physical exam that revealed I was 3 cm dilated. The consultant told me that if I chose to wait another week for spontaneous labor, my baby would be born sick and under-nourished due to the small amount of amniotic fluid inside the hardening placenta.

Fortunately, I avoided the emergency c/s that another doctor was bullying me with. I gave birth after 2 vaginal pessaries, 1 pitocin drip and a dose of pethidine to cope with the pitocin pain. 4 hours of sleep later, I was fully dilated and I had a vaginal birth while very much aware and awake, assisted by 2 midwives. Everything else on my birth plan was followed, though I did have 3rd degree perineal tearing. My son was healthy though a tad bit small at 3.2kg. While in hospital, I kept feeling very guilty that I had taken him out of his warm cozy womb before he was ready.

Did I make the right choice? What can I do for this pregnancy to avoid a hardened placenta?
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#2 of 9 Old 11-25-2009, 02:12 PM
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I can't speak as to whether you made the right choice, though I imagine you did what you felt was best at the time.

My mw has seen a correlation between women who do a lot of dairy while pregnant and an increase in calcification of those placentas. So she has encouraged me to replace milk with almond milk where I can, and just cut back on it in general. She noticed specifically that her vegan clients had really healthy placentas without calcification, and she noticed clients who do more dairy end up with calcification in some places on their placentas.
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#3 of 9 Old 11-25-2009, 02:43 PM
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I had what looked like a calcified placenta by u/s when I was pg with my first (he's now 6.5 yrs). The u/s tech FREAKED out and scared me to death, telling me that I needed to call my doctor *IMMEDIATELY* and blah blah blah.

My doctor shrugged it off like it was no big thing. When he was born (on his EDD) the placenta looked beautiful and healthy with no calcifications.

Just my experience. YMMV

Wife to a great DH, SAHM to 3 great kids
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#4 of 9 Old 11-25-2009, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi LemonPie and Moonglowmama,

Unfortunately around the week I gave birth, both my "back-up" people, a private ob/gyn and a British former NHS midwife, had started their summer vacations so I was very much stuck with the decision of the gov't doctor. Medical practice here is sooo over-cautious, esp when the baby's health is concerned, that doctors would rather intervene straight away than face the potential wrath of disappointed parents. Admittedly, I wasn't as concerned as the consultant about the placenta and low amnioitic fluid (baby's heart rate was consistently strong and regular, thank God, even through the Pitocin drip), but I felt it was too late to switch doctors and I just didn't have the backing of an informed second opinion.

Maybe I should use my contacts at the hospital and obtain a medical report of the birth so I can find out what the placenta was like after all! I had the additional drama of my grandmother being present in the active labor room so between attempting to calm down my grandma on an adrenaline high and trying to enjoy the moment with my newborn and DH and b/f the babe, I honestly don't remember how or when the placenta was birthed.

Moonglowmama, thanks for the tip on calcium. I did eat frozen strawberry yogurt pops by the boxful!
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#5 of 9 Old 11-27-2009, 12:54 AM
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ALL placentas will start to show some calcification around the time your baby reaches full term. What matters is the degree of calcification-- a placenta that has a lot of calcification is starting to get old and starting to kind of stop working as well. I don't think there's a hard and fast rule about how much calcification is too much... it's kind of at the discretion of the doctor.

At least, this is what my OB/GYN told me at the end of my pregnancy. My placenta had signs of "extreme" calcification and some other oddity I don't recall right now but my fluid levels were fine so she left it up to me to decide whether or not I wanted to be induced at 41 weeks.

Mother of two great little guys, G (9/28/09) and W (1/20/12)

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#6 of 9 Old 11-27-2009, 05:47 AM
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I also have started to show signs of calcification but my OB also said it was up to me if I wanted to be induced. I am waiting until 41 weeks to decide (literally will have an appointment at 41 weeks) so we can see how 'advanced' it is.. I am going to play it by ear and make the choices by my gut decision.

so far there have been zero signs of fetal distress or problems.

DS1 Dec 2009 fuzmalesling.gif DZ Twins July 2012 babyboy.gifbabygirl.gif

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#7 of 9 Old 11-27-2009, 06:08 AM
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And if American OB's are rushing to the operating room at the first sign of calcium, it probably is not that big a deal and your OB was just being very cautious.
As for being dilated, I consistently spend the last month between 3-5cm. It's a little hard to walk with babe that far down, but it's never caused a problem.

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#8 of 9 Old 11-27-2009, 10:56 AM
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My second was born at 41w to 41w5d and the placenta had small calcifications on it. No biggie in our case. Reminds me, it's still in the freezer, I really need to bury that in the garden before the ground freezes.
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#9 of 9 Old 11-27-2009, 08:21 PM
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Calcifications of the placenta are sometimes very common, despite diet or gestational age. We forget that the placenta is a changing organ, it is not static - and even with half of its function gone it can still sustain a pregnancy and healthy baby. Placenta calcification is not a good indication for cesarean or induction - fetal movements, reactivity and reassuring variabiltiy in heartrate is going to tell you if baby is doing well with the placenta it has.
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