What is a placental insufficiency?

Throughout the past 20 years, Washington D.C. has had the unfortunate distinction of suffering one of the highest fetal, perinatal, and neonatal infant mortality rates in the country. According to the Washington Post, D.C.’s rate, although steadily decreasing, is still higher than the National average of 6.1 deaths per 1,000 newborns, The latest data puts it around 8, meaning every year more than 75 infants die due to birth-related injuries.

Many of these tragic fatalities are a direct result of injuries that occur during pregnancy, such as malnutrition, hypoxia, and compromised fetal blood flow. This is why it is extremely important to make sure you’re receiving adequate prenatal care and examinations to make sure your baby is receiving the oxygen, nutrients and blood he needs to survive.

The Placenta: Your Baby’s Lifeline

The placenta basically acts as a courier for your baby. It allows the transfer of vital nutrients and oxygen from your uterus’s blood supply to your baby. In addition to bringing nutrients, it also provides waste management by removing unwanted and potentially harmful uric acid and carbon dioxide from the womb; by traveling through the placenta, the waste is harmlessly filtered into your blood supply and away from your baby. However, if your placenta is damaged in anyway, this transfer can be disrupted and cause severe consequences to your child.

Placental Insufficiency

Placental insufficiency is characterized by a compromised or insufficient blood flow to the placenta. If the placenta isn’t receiving an adequate amount of blood, your baby has no way of getting the nutrients and oxygen he needs, nor a way to get rid of the waste he is producing. This lack of blood flow could be associated with several underlying factors:

  • An abnormally thin placenta can restrict blood flow
  • Calcifications, blood clots, or blockages can divert or stop blood flow
  • High or low blood pressure affects rate of flow
  • Anemia or diabetes can slow or change flow
  • Drug abuse can alter rate, intensity, and nutrients within the flow
  • Vascular problems or abnormalities can affect how and where your blood is being diverted and used

Routine prenatal checkups, placental measuring, and uterus exams are extremely important to monitor your baby’s development and prevent birth injuries, a premature birth or miscarriage, preeclampsia, or a stillborn delivery.

Prenatal insufficiency generally doesn’t present maternal symptoms and can therefore be hard to identify without proper care. Help us raise awareness and answer your pregnant loved ones questions, by sharing this page on Facebook and Twitter, or by contacting us today for more information on birth injury deaths, settlements and claims.