Tales of the 2nd Trimester: My placenta is where?!

When I went for my 16-week appointment, I was a bit nervous because I was meeting with a new doctor. My doctor’s office wants to make sure you are seen by every doctor in the practice, ya know, just in case the doctor that you have known since you were 20 years old is not on call the night you are giving birth to your first born child.

Anterior Placenta

I had never met this particular doctor before. Was she nice? Was she straight to the point or would we be chatting it up for an hour? My husband and I walked blindly into the exam room and I hoisted myself up on the table. I figured the routine would be the same. She would put the doppler on my belly to hear the heartbeat. Ask how I’m feeling and I would be on my way.

Right?

Wrong.

She comes in, politely introduces herself, asks if we are finding out the sex of the baby (yes, we already know it’s a girl!), and then grabs the doppler, throws some of that jelly on my belly, turns on the machine and places it on my stomach.

Swish, swish. 

“Hm. I can hear movement, but I can’t hear the heartbeat. (She pauses.) Let’s go take a look in the sonogram room.”

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!

I start to mildly panic on the inside because that heartbeat has been music to our ears since the 6th week! She doesn’t seem too concerned, which I took as a good sign, so I followed her to the sonogram room.

I walked into the room and sat on the table. The doctor poured more of that cold jelly stuff on my belly and put the sono stick to work.

“Ah! She’s an active little one! We couldn’t hear the heartbeat with the doppler because your placenta is in the front, thus blocking the doppler from hearing it. The placenta may move in the future, but for now, it’s right behind your belly button, with the baby behind it. She looks great!”

via GIPHY

Errr… ok?! I clearly was uneducated in the area of placenta placements. I knew there was one in there. But I had no idea there was a name for the location of it.

After a bunch of research, I found out that there is a name for this and it’s called an anterior placenta. Normally, the placenta is towards the woman’s back with the baby in front of it. This is why women start feeling kicks super early. With an anterior placenta, the doctor said my baby is taking a backseat, and the placenta will act as a cushion to the kicks, thus making it hard for me to feel them so early. Apparently, the location of the placenta doesn’t matter, as long as it doesn’t cover the cervix.

I was relieved; the baby is fine, I am fine, my placenta is hanging out near my belly button. The things you learn about your body when you are pregnant.

  • I had an anterior placenta with my second and thank God I did. He was 10lbs when he was born and he kicked / elbowed me so hard from 20 weeks on…I don’t know what I would have done without that extra padding.