Placenta Previa: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Is placenta previa harmful to the baby?

You are most likely reading this article thinking what Placenta Previa is? Well for those of you that have had placenta previa you know that it can be terrifying. Let me share with you in this article about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of placenta previa.

Placenta Previa is a condition in pregnancy when your placenta or part of your placenta is covering your cervix. Your placenta attaches to your uterine wall, and this is what your baby uses to grow while inside of you. All your babies blood and nutrients flow through your placenta.

The placenta is the organ that feeds the developing fetus. It gives the fetus the blood supply and nutrients needed to survive. He grows up with pregnancy. During pregnancy, the placenta is repositioned as the uterus extends and develops. At the beginning of pregnancy, a low placenta is very common. But as the pregnancy progresses, the placenta “moves” into the womb. In the third trimester, the placenta should be near the top of the uterus, leaving the opening of the cervix cleared for delivery. If it still stays in the lowest part of the uterus and may cover the cervix, this is what we called placenta previa.

Types of Placenta Previa

There are four types of placenta previa, according to the covering of the opening cervix:

  1. Complete placenta previa: the placenta entirely covers the cervical opening. In this situation, routine labor cannot be done. It can cause serious bleeding and death.
  2. Placenta Partial Praia: The placenta covers part of the cervical opening. It still has a high risk of bleeding during labor, so a woman in this condition most likely to have a cesarean delivery.
  3. Marginal placenta previa: The placenta is located near the edge of the cervix but does not block it. The labor can be normal, but the risk of bleeding is still high. You should be very careful.
  4. Low-lying placenta (also known as lateral placenta or dangerous placenta): The placenta is located at the low part of the uterus a few centimeters or millimeters from the cervix. You can deliver the baby with no stress, but you must be careful because there is still a risk of bleeding, but less than another type.

Placenta Previa Symptoms

The symptoms of placenta previa are sudden pain or bleed at the end of the second or third trimester of pregnancy. In rare cases, patients have severe vaginal bleeding that can persist for days to weeks. There are also uterine cramps with bleeding and abdominal pain.

Causes of Placenta Previa

Placenta previa occurs in 3 to 6 pregnancies out of 1,000. The exact cause of this complication is still unknown, but its frequency increases in women who:

  • The hereditary abnormal shape of the uterus
  • Uterine fibroids or surgery to remove fibroids
  • Scarring of the uterine wall caused by previous pregnancies, cesareans, uterine surgery, or abortions
  • Multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • History of placenta previa

Women who smoke or have their first gestation at an older age (above 35) may also have an increased risk. Possible causes of placenta previa include:

  • Abnormal formation of the placenta
  • Abnormal uterus
  • Large placenta
  • The scarred lining of the uterus (endometrium)

The Threat of Placenta Previa

Placenta previa is a critical condition that can cause postpartum hemorrhage and infection. It can also cause fetal death if there is no immediate medical intervention applied to the pregnant mother.

Treatment of Placenta Previa

The diagnosis of placenta previa status can be detected by your health care provider using an ultrasound test. However, doing an ultrasound test is not as accurate because of the position of the baby in the womb. Anyway, it is always reliable and useful to visualize the state as a whole.

Treatment varies from one woman to another woman, depending on the type of placenta previa in the pregnant woman. The usual tips are:

If the bleeding is light and close to the spots, doctors usually recommend complete bed rest for the woman. In this case, it is also strongly recommended to avoid sexual intercourse and intense exercises to prevent additional complications.

If the bleeding is profuse, the woman can then be admitted to the hospital for further diagnosis by ultrasound and recommend drugs according to the reports.

In case the bleeding does not stop, the doctor can give birth to an emergency procedure, even if the whole pregnancy was not covered.

Most Placenta Previa cases are not this severe so if you have it don’t worry most times the placenta moves away from the cervix as your baby grows but sometimes it moves the other way, and you have full-blown placenta previa.



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