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What does thick placenta and low AFI indicate?

May 2014
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Practicing since : 2002
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Hi! I'm 31 weeks pregnant and have been diagnosed with thick placenta (approx. 3.4cm) and amniotic fluid is also low. Yesterday AFI came out to 10. Though my weight gain and baby's growth is fine so far. But what are the implications of thick placenta and low AFI and what precautions should i take.
Posted Wed, 26 Feb 2014 in Pregnancy
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Please find detailed answer below Detailed Answer: Hi XXXXXXX mehta, Thanks for writing in to us. Placenta thickness is usually evaluated in the second and third trimesters. Usually the approximate gestational age (in weeks) = placental thickness +/- 10 mm with an upper limit of 4 cm. If we use this formula in your situation the placental thickness at 31 weeks may be considered normal if it measures 3.4 cm. So you can relax as far any serious consequences due to thick placenta are considered. However, a true thickened placenta can cause placental insufficiency which can further cause problems to the baby during delivery and may also affect growth of the baby inside the mother in some cases. As you have already confirmed that baby's growth is fine there is nothing to worry as far placental thickness is concerned. AFI or amniotic fluid index is taken as normal if it is between 8 to 18 during most of the pregnancy though the values change with the gestational age. At 31 weeks the desirable AFI is 14.4. At 10 your AFI is slightly on the lower side of normal. The decrease in AFI can be just a normal variation for you. In severe cases it can be related to fetal urinary tract abnormalities, uteroplacental insufficiency, due to dehydration in the mother or for no specific reason. Low AFI also increases the chances of complications like premature birth and various birth defects (like hypoplastic lungs) in the newborn as well as miscarriage and stillbirth.Risk factors include gestational diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure and preeclampsia. If there was any serious problem with your baby, it would have been known. However, ultrasound scans at regular intervals of at least two weeks are suggested to check for any further changes in AFI. As precaution the mother is advised to take in adequate amounts of water, fluids and fresh juices. Always be in touch with your doctor. Hope your query is answered. Do write back if you have any doubts. Regards, Dr.Vivek
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Follow-up: What does thick placenta and low AFI indicate? 9 hours later
Thanks for the response. On rechecking the report found that placental thickness is not 3.4 but 3.8cm. Does it change anything? Also, could it be the reason for low AFI.
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 17 hours later
Brief Answer: Please find detailed answer below Detailed Answer: Hi, Thanks for writing back with an update. With placenta thickness of 3.8 cm you need to be careful during the last few weeks of your pregnancy. Though there is no immidiate risk, close supervision with your doctor is suggested. Regarding low AFI it is difficult to pinpoint the cause but the placental insufficiency may be one of the reasons. The precautions remain the same. Regards Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What does thick placenta and low AFI indicate? 2 hours later
Thanks for the response doc! Will take care of the precautionary measures as suggested.
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 21 hours later
Brief Answer: Welcome Detailed Answer: Hi, You are welcome and wishing you good health. Should you have any further query, please feel free to write back. Regards, Dr.Vivek
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