What is A Placental Lake And How It Affects Pregnancy?

Placenta Lake

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What Is A Placental Lake?

Pregnancy is a time of contradictions. On one hand, you are full of dreams and hopes. On the other, your life is plagued with anxiety. What if something goes wrong? The dread is never too far from your thoughts. And this dread is not unfounded.

When you are pregnant, you have no clue about the next thing life may throw at you. But not everything you see is scary! Some things just sound intimidating. But, dig a little deeper and you’ll see that your panic was unwarranted.

So, if you are surfing the net in order to know a little more about Placental Lake, let us help you out!

Is A Placental Lake Something To Worry About?

First, you need to know what a placental lake is! It is most likely that you came across a diagnosis of a placental lake after an ultrasound. If you look closely at your ultrasound scan, you’ll discover black areas on the surface of the placenta or deeper inside. These spots are pools of blood called Placental Lakes (PL). Here are a few points to remember about PL:

Almost all women experience placental lakes by the time they reach their third trimester. Women with thicker placentas are more likely to develop placental lakes. Worrying as it may be, the simple fact is that placental lakes do not lead to uteroplacental difficulties or cause an unfavorable pregnancy outcome (1). Often a placental lake in the second trimester indicates a smaller than average fetal size (2). In such a case, your doctor may keep a close eye on the baby’s growth to make sure that everything’s moving the way it should.

Another risk is if the placental lake is unusually large and takes up more than ten percent of the placenta. There is a small chance that multiple and large sized placental lakes can indicate the risk of placenta accrete. Though the risk is minimal, a simple ultrasound can rule out the problem in seconds. But it is important to remember that this problem is more likely to arise in case of a medical history that includes a previous uterine surgery and a placenta that is close to the cervical os.

Some women worry that a diagnosis of a placental lake may mean that they will experience hemorrhaging during labor/birth; this is just not true! Most women with placental lakes go on to have low-risk pregnancies and healthy babies.

[ Read: Blood Clots In Placenta During Pregnancy ]

What Causes Placental Lakes?

The exact cause of the placental lakes is still not known. And because we still don’t know how they come into existence, there is not much you can do to prevent them. If you are worried that lifestyle choices like smoking may increase the odds of placental lakes, you are mistaken (3).

Placental Lake Complications

Placental lakes in themselves do not indicate a problem. But can they aggravate an existing pregnancy issue, how? Let’s find out!

1. Placental Abruption:

Placental abruption is a serious medical condition. It can even lead to maternal and fetal death. Factors like multiparity and maternal anemia can lead to placental abruption (4). But placental lakes do not cause this problem or make it worse.

2. High Blood Pressure Or Pre-eclampsia:

Another serious pregnancy issue, preeclampsia is not a fall out of placental lakes. Some of the real causes of preeclampsia include lesions in the placenta, the body’s inability to use insulin efficiently, obesity, etc. (5).

3. Premature Labor:

Giving birth to your baby before either of you is ready for it can lead to severe complications. But the placental lake does not lead to premature labor and delivery. Health issues like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy are more likely to be the cause of preterm labor (6).

So, as you can see, a placental lake is not one of the pregnancy issues that you need to panic over!

Take a deep breath! And till you find something else to worry about, enjoy your pregnancy!

Did you experience placental lake during pregnancy? Did your doctor explain the problem to you? Tell us here!

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