The location of your placenta on the uterine wall can have a pretty significant impact on your pregnancy. It is something that is typically checked during an ultrasound so it can be monitored if necessary; placentas that attach low in the uterus can sometimes block part or all of the birth canal, which can make a vaginal delivery dangerous and even impossible. This is called placenta previa and it affects about 1 in 200 women. Your risk may be higher if you have had prior uterine surgery (including Cesarean section) or if you are carrying multiples.
Placenta location can affect your pregnancy in less dramatic ways as well. At term, a placenta weighs 1-2 pounds. If you have an anterior placenta (located directly behind your belly button on the ‘front’ of your uterus), those two pounds can get awfully heavy as your belly grows out. This can cause a lot of back strain. Wrapping your belly with a woven wrap can help alleviate the stress of carrying weight so far outside of your center of gravity. You will likely know if your placenta is anterior because it will be a little more challenging to find baby’s heartbeat at your checkups-this isn’t because anything is wrong with baby! It is simply a side effect of the Doppler having to go through an extra organ.