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Placental trophotropism

Last revised by Dr Jeremy Jones on 20 Sep 2021

Placental trophotropism refers to a phenomenon where there is a dynamic migration of the placenta at its insertion through gestation. The placenta tends to grow in areas of good blood supply and nutrition and atrophies in areas with poor blood supply and poor nutrition. It may play a role in the development of abnormal placental shapes - see variation in placental morphology.

Placental trophotropism is the reason why a low lying placenta noted in an early pregnancy scan may resolve on a later scan. The placenta moves at approximately 1 mm per week 3.

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