What is a placental infarct?

Robert J. Fagnant, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
In your obstetrical care, sometimes you'll be told that there are lesions, or masses, or infarcts on the placenta. Sometimes if you have some spotting, they'll do an ultrasound and look at the placenta and say that there is an infarct there, or a hemorrhage, or a chorionic separation. All those things are things that we notice mostly by ultrasound. In small amounts and in a small percentage, that usually does not affect the pregnancy adversely.

When it starts to affect the pregnancy is when it starts to affect more of the placenta, and then it can become a very severe issue. As you get closer to your due date, if there are some infarcts or some spots on the placenta, sometimes that means that the blood flow to the baby may be less. Your doctor may request either more frequent ultrasounds or special tests called non-stress tests, where you can put on a monitor, where we can look at the baby's heart rate for a period of time to be able to tell if the baby is doing okay, and if other things need to be done.

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