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What does it mean when they say I have a "grade III" placenta?

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I recently had a checkup -- I'm being watched for preeclampsia. Anyway, they said my placenta was a grade III. What does that mean? Is it good or bad?


With the use of ultrasound, physicians are now able to assess the status of your placenta as well as your baby. One thing they've learned is that the placenta goes through stages of aging as a pregnancy progresses. This aging process is labeled as a grade I, II, or III. Each grade, or degree of aging, is supposed to occur at a particular time in the pregnancy. For example, a grade III placenta is fully mature, and ideally should not be seen until after 34 weeks' gestation. It has been found that the placenta may age more quickly when a woman has preeclampsia. Also, the blood vessels (arteries and veins) in the placenta could become constricted, thus decreasing blood flow to the baby. If a placenta reaches grade III earlier than 34 weeks, then your physician will monitor your baby's status to be sure that he is still growing and maturing as he should. You have done the right thing by getting regular prenatal care so that this change can be observed. By following your physician's advice and continuing frequent care, you and your baby can expect a good outcome!


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