Eccentric placentae have reduced surface area and are associated with lower birth weight in babies small for gestational age

Authors : Ravikumar G, Crasta J, Prabhu JS, Thomas T, Dwarkanath P, Thomas A, Sridhar TS, Kurpad AV

Publication Year : 2018

Abstract :

Placental structure and function determine birth outcomes. Placental mass does not always correlate with fetal birth weight (BW) in uncomplicated pregnancies which raises the possibility of other variables such as placental shape and cord insertion being the determinants of placental efficiency. In total, 160 women with singleton pregnancy, recruited into a pregnancy cohort were studied. Placental weight (PW) was measured and other data were obtained from clinical records. Birth outcomes were classified as small for gestational age (SGA) and appropriate for gestational age (AGA) based on fetal gender, gestational age (GA) and BW. High-resolution images of the chorionic plate were recorded. The shape of the placenta and the insertion of the cord were measured using eccentricity index (EI) and cord centrality index (CCI). Only placentae with eccentrically inserted cords (n=136) were included. The mean BW and PW were 2942 (±435) g and 414 (±82) g with average GA of 38.6 weeks. The mean CCI and EI was 0.483 (±0.17) and 0.482 (±0.16). Neither of these correlated with placental efficiency. However, EI showed negative correlation with placental surface area and breadth. Upon sub-grouping the cohort into SGA (n=32) and AGA (n=104), the SGA babies with the highest EI (third tertile) had significantly lower BW than those with the least eccentric placentae (first tertile). Although eccentric-shaped placentae were present in both SGA and AGA groups, the effect on BW was observed only in the SGA group.