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General Practice 2023

What does grade 0, 1, 2 and 3 placenta mean?

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What does grade 0, 1, 2 and 3 placenta mean?
What does grade 0, 1, 2 and 3 placenta mean?
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The placenta can be classified into four grades, between 0 and 3, which will depend on its maturity and calcification, which is a normal process that occurs throughout pregnancy. However, in some cases, it can age too soon, which requires frequent evaluation by the obstetrician, in order to avoid complications.

The placenta is a structure formed during pregnancy, which establishes communication between the mother and the fetus, guaranteeing the ideal conditions for its development. Its main functions are to provide nutrients, oxygen and immune protection to the baby, stimulate the production of hormones, protect the baby from impacts, and eliminate waste produced by the baby.

The maturation of the placenta can be classified as follows:

  • Grade 0, which usually lasts until the 18th week,and is characterized by a homogeneous placenta without calcification;
  • Grade 1, which occurs between the 18th and 29th week,and is characterized by a placenta with small intraplacental calcifications;
  • Grade 2, present between the 30th and 38th week,and characterized by a placenta with basal plate calcifications;
  • Grade 3, which is present at the end of pregnancy, around the 39th week and which is a sign of maturation of the lungs. Grade 3 placenta already presents calcification from the basal to the chorionic plate.

In some cases, an early maturation of the placenta can be detected. It is not yet known for sure what may be at its origin, but it is known that it is more frequent in very young women, women who are having their first pregnancy and pregnant women who smoke during childbirth.

Can the degree of the placenta interfere with pregnancy or delivery?

The maturation of the placenta throughout pregnancy is a normal process and is nothing to worry about. However, if grade 3 placental maturation occurs before 36 weeks of gestation, this may be associated with a maternal-fetal condition.

When an early maturation of the placenta is detected, the pregnant woman should be monitored more frequently and also during labor, to avoid complications such as premature delivery, placental abruption, heavy bleeding in postpartum or birth with low weight.

See how the placenta develops and learn about the most common changes and what to do.

How is the degree of placenta detected

The obstetrician can identify the degree of maturity of the placenta by observing the calcifications present during an ultrasound examination.

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