What is Placenta Previa?
Placenta Previa is when the placenta has implanted at the bottom of a woman’s uterus and either completely or partially covers the cevix – meaning the abby is unable to be born vaginally.
What Causes Placenta Previa?
While there is no one definite cause of Placenta Previa, the likelihood of it occurring increases in the following circumstances:
- The embryo implanting in a lower part of the uterus
- Uterine abnormalities including scarring and fibroids
- Abnormality of the placenta
- Multiple babies – eg twins or more
- Multiple pregnancies
What are the symptoms of Placenta Previa?
For many women, they first become aware of their Placenta Previa when they experience painless vaginal bleeding in the second half of their pregnancy. As a pregnancy progresses the bottom uterus stretches and thins, this often causes bleeding as the placenta will also thin and stretch. Sexual intercourse, Digital Vaginal Exams and Internal Ultrasound can also cause bleeding.
How is Placenta Previa diagnosed?
Placenta Previa is often first diagnosed when a woman experiences painless vaginal bleeding and will be further confirmed by feeling where the baby is sitting in the uterus (in many cases of Placenta Previa the baby will be sitting bottom first or sideways) and it is definitively confirmed through an ultrasound.
How is Placenta Previa treated?
The treatment of Placenta Previa heavily depends on a number of factors which include:
- The health of the baby and mother.
- The gestational age of the baby
- The precise location of the Placenta and also if the Placenta Previa completely or partially covers the cervix
- The amount of blood which has been lost by the mother
- The position of the baby
While there is no ‘cure’ for Placenta Previa, treatment options during pregnancy may include:
- Bed Rest and or hospitalisation.
- Avoiding all activities which may cause the uterus to contract or irritate the cervix such as orgasms and sexual intercourse.
- Regular monitoring of both the baby and mother.
- Blood transfusion for the mother if blood loss is significant.
What are the possible complications of Placenta Previa?
Some of the possible complications of Placenta Previa include:
- Haemorrhaging and shock in the mother
- Fetal distress due to lack of oxygen
- Premature labour or delivery and the associated health risks if born early
- Emergency caesarean
- Hysterectomy if blood loss is significant ant the placenta doesn’t come away from the uterus properly.
- Loss of blood for baby
How will my baby be delivered if I have Placenta Previa?
All treatment options aim to reduce or avoid the symptoms of Placenta Previa and help prolong the pregnancy until as close to 36 weeks as possible. When your baby is strong enough to be delivered, or either yourself or your baby gets distressed, a caesarean is performed.
If you have any questions about Placenta Previa, experience any bleeding or have any concerns at all in regards to your pregnancy, please speak with your Doctor or Medical Professional immediately.
Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.