What is Marginal Placental Cord Insertion (MPCI) and What Does It Mean?

When a doctor tells you that your placenta is like dinner plate with asparagus falling off the side…

What is it and what does it mean?

Basically the umbilical cord normally comes from the center of the placenta, but when you have Marginal Placental Cord Insertion (MPCI), the umbilical cord comes from the side of the placenta instead.

What this means: not much at first. Some mom’s have this, but their baby’s aren’t affected at all. Others (like myself), have issues such as baby’s not getting the nutrition they need and therefore they grow at a slower rate than a “normal” baby. If this is the case, you will be monitored with ultrasounds and/or NSTs to make sure that the baby is still moving properly, the heart rate is normal and they aren’t completely falling off their growth curve.

Normally, if you have MPCI, you will find out after your anatomy scan. The Ultrasound technician looks at everything from the organs of your little peanut to size of its head, femur length, estimated weight, location of the placenta and more. Normally this is when the Ultrasound technician or your OBGYN will pick up on the anatomy of the placenta.

Don’t Worry too Much

If you do get diagnosed with MPCI, which is pretty rare (in fact I tried to find information on this when I was told I have it and couldn’t find anything!), don’t freak out. You can’t do anything to change how your placenta was formed, just the luck of the draw. Good news is, you probably won’t have to give birth to a 8-10lb watermelon!

A nutritionist mentioned eating more protein other high calorie, low carb foods.

If your baby starts to drop off the curve (like ours has), try not to overthink it. Our baby has gone from the 15th centile at 22 weeks, to the 9th at 28 weeks and at our last scan at 30 weeks it was in the 5th. If you are over 26 weeks pregnant, your baby is viable, meaning, if you need to deliver it, it has a high survival rate. The longer baby stays inside the womb, the higher it’s chances of survival, and optimally, you want to make it to full term which is 38 weeks. If, however, your baby is drastically falling off the curve, your OB may suggest an early delivery.

Delivering a Preemie

Premature babies will most likely have to spend some time in the NICU, but the nurses and doctors that work in there are amazing. Even though, you may not be able to bring home baby after two days, your baby will come home as soon as it learns to eat and breathe on its own and has gained enough weight. The process may feel painfully long, but just know that your baby has a great chance of being just as healthy as a full term baby, after their stay in the NICU.

Doctors don’t want to deliver a baby premature, unless it will be more beneficial to your unborn baby. Meaning, if your baby isn’t growing properly and isn’t getting the nutrition it needs inside the womb, it will be able to get these important nutrients once delivered, so it may be necessary to deliver early.

The Take Away

Again, don’t stress with a diagnoses of MPCI, because your baby could still go full term and be a 5-6lb baby (or more if it has a growth spurt!). Speak with your medical team to learn the most you can about MPCI and ask them if they have any suggestions to help with the baby’s growth.

You may be put on modified best rest, for example. I am allowed to have 30 minutes of activity per day, but was told to either take off work or to work from home to avoid added activities (longer distance to the bathroom, cafeteria, co-workers offices, etc.). I was also told to be a little more lenient about my blood sugars (letting them run in the 5-7 range, rather than the tight 4-5.5 range) and to eat a few extra (500) calories per day. We go for our growth scan on Thursday, so I’ll add an extra Edit and let you know if two weeks of bedrest and increased caloric intake helped!

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