What is placenta calcification?

The placenta is the part of a woman’s body that attaches the baby to the inside of the uterine wall. Blood vessels in the placenta make up the umbilical cord, which attaches to the baby at the belly button. The placenta, which resembles a cauliflower in shape, allows the baby and mother to exchange oxygen, nutrients, and waste products. The placenta is delivered after a baby is delivered, and is often referred to as the afterbirth.

Placenta calcification refers to calcium deposits that appear on the placenta. These calcium deposits indicate an “aging” of the placenta that occurs near the end of pregnancy. These deposits of calcium can cause certain small parts of the placenta to die. The calcium deposits may also cause some parts of the placenta to be replaced with fibrous tissue. The calcium deposits can also obstruct parts of the placenta with clots of maternal blood. They can also harden or block the maternal blood vessels. In most cases, placental calcification does not affect the functioning of the placenta, and the fetus is generally not harmed.

When calcification is found early on in the pregnancy, it can be an indication that the placenta is aging faster than it should. If this occurs, your health care provider will likely wish to monitor your baby at regular intervals to make sure that your baby is receiving the nutritional content that he needs, and that his nutritional intake is not obstructed by the calcium deposits. Your health care provider will, specifically, be measuring the growth of your baby.

Some studies suggest that placental calcification can be caused by cigarette smoking. Other studies suggest that using antioxidants in the diet can help to neutralize the effect.

When a placenta has calcium deposits on it, they may appear as white patches on the placenta after birth.


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