When does the placenta start to calcify? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-11-2004, 04:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My baby was breech up until a few days ago when I felt him flip around at night. The doc couldn't seem to tell by touch so he did a quick ultrasound yesterday at my 34 week appointment (baby is head down!) and he noticed that the placenta has started to calcify quite a bit. He said that I probably wouldn't make it to my due date as a result.

Is this true? When does a placenta normally start to calcify? How soon before delivery?

TIA

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Old 05-11-2004, 02:22 PM
 
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ack. The placenta does calcify sometimes, but there is a large area of placenta, so it's not usually an issue. If your baby is growing well and has a nice heart rate variability, there's usually no problem at all.

Sounds like you're being set up for a very highly interventive birth - earlier than your baby may be ready for.

Are you seeing a military doc, by chance?

It would be very rare for your placenta to deteriorate if you arent' a smoker, eat pretty well, and don't have high blood pressure. I'm rather suspicious based on what he's telling you.
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Old 05-11-2004, 02:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamamidwife
ack. The placenta does calcify sometimes, but there is a large area of placenta, so it's not usually an issue. If your baby is growing well and has a nice heart rate variability, there's usually no problem at all.

Sounds like you're being set up for a very highly interventive birth - earlier than your baby may be ready for.

Are you seeing a military doc, by chance?

It would be very rare for your placenta to deteriorate if you arent' a smoker, eat pretty well, and don't have high blood pressure. I'm rather suspicious based on what he's telling you.
Pam,

I have a close friend whose placenta began to deteriorate and she had none of those issues. Because of her religious beliefs she is not a smoker, she is a vegetarian and ate the Bradley diet during pregnancy and did not have high blood pressure. Her placenta started calcification around the 32 week. She had complications during the birth as a result and her placenta came out in pieces. The nurses were extremely insensitive and started asking her over and over again if she was a smoker because her babies cord look like one that belong to a smoker as well. The pediatrician did the same thing! Finally my friends mother just went off on them and told them that she was not a smoker. There is no reason as to why it began early, but based on her second opinion and third after the birth, it could happen again and that she would need to have babies earlier than full term. (this baby was born at 38 weeks)
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Old 05-11-2004, 02:41 PM
 
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A deteriorating placenta is one thing, calcifications are another. They are very different and I stand by the fact that what your friend went through is very rare, luckily.
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Old 05-11-2004, 10:48 PM
 
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"There is no reason as to why it began early,"

Actually, there was a reason, it's just that neither your friend nor her doctor knew what it was.
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Old 05-12-2004, 04:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Pam I was hoping you would answer this

Yes he is a military doc. He is one of the most "natural" docs stationed here and I have heard nice things about him (my old doc, the MOST natural military doc I have met had him deliver his wife's baby) but I still don't believe everything they say.

The baby is growing well, heart rate was awesome as usual (140 steady throughout this pregnancy) and I am healthy as a horse (no smoking, drinking, vegetarian, lots of protein and I exercise quite a bit).

He said he thought that meant I was further along than they thought but I also know that isn't true as I was charting for two years and I know exactly when we conceived this baby.

So the question is... if they do try to go all intervention-y (lol) on me how can I convince them that it is fine? And can early calcification means a deteriorating placenta how would we know for sure?

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Old 05-12-2004, 04:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Pam I was hoping you would answer this

Yes he is a military doc. He is one of the most "natural" docs stationed here and I have heard nice things about him (my old doc, the MOST natural military doc I have met had him deliver his wife's baby) but I still don't believe everything they say.

The baby is growing well, heart rate was awesome as usual (140 steady throughout this pregnancy) and I am healthy as a horse (no smoking, drinking, vegetarian, lots of protein and I exercise quite a bit).

He said he thought that meant I was further along than they thought but I also know that isn't true as I was charting for two years and I know exactly when we conceived this baby.

So the question is... if they do try to go all intervention-y (lol) on me how can I convince them that it is fine? And can early calcification means a deteriorating placenta how would we know for sure?

Mom to 4! Welcomed Aila Wren on Friday, February 25th!
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Old 05-12-2004, 02:26 PM
 
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OK, so it was just a quick scan of an in-office ultrasound machine by your OB? In that case, I would request a biophysical profile before going anywhere further with this. Your OB may have some basic training in using the ultrasound machine, but none like an ultrasound tech. It's important to look at all the factors of a biophysical profile: the movements of the baby, the levels of amniotic fluid, the reactivity of baby's heart rate, baby's breathing movements, and placental grading. The grading will tell you whether or not, along with other factors of the profile, whether or not your baby needs to be born early.

What if you had not had that scan? Would your OB think something was amiss? A placenta that is not functioning results in poor baby growth, a heartrate with little or no reactivity (baby does not move much and when he/she does, the heart rate goes up just a bit and then comes right back down, whereas in a healthy baby, the baby moves alot and the heart rate increases with movement and stays up about 10-15 beats a minute for a period of time...). So, if your placenta was really comprimising the health of your baby, your OB would have noticed this in other ways. YOU would have noticed it, too, with decreased movements.

If you're wanting to confirm the health of your baby, then a biophysical profile might be a good next step. It surely would make sense and your OB would probably be supportive. The BPP grades various factors and the most common "problem" seen is low amniotic fluid, which in late pregnancy isn't always an issue. I would suggest drinking alot of water (2-3 quarts a day) over the few days before the test if you do it.

Anyway, be firm in the confirmation of your dates. You know when you conceived and your charting should take presidence over anything else.

If you need more information on the BPP or have any other questions, let me know. BTW, you are pretty lucky to be there in Italy! We went last year and growing up my dad was in the Navy, so we were always trying to get stationed in Naples. Heh! Instead, though, we got Cuba. ack!
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