First things first – Placenta previa is a pregnancy related complication. It mostly hits pregnant women above 35 who have had history of previa; multiple abortions; more than five deliveries; multiple caesareans in the past; etc.
It can have life threatening consequences for the baby as well as mother if things are not monitored from the beginning. Placenta previa is not a disease; its displacement of placenta which the body internally deals with and sometimes sorts itself out. Therefore there is no medication for it as such, and only preventions which includes incorporating changes in lifestyle as suggested by doctor depending on individual contion.
Placenta previa is not such a common medical condition and is diagnosed in one in every two hundred pregnant women. Patients may note that it is not a disease of placenta; it is merely position of the organ that has moved from its normal position. There is no treatment to cure it; the condition can only be stabilized.
In any stage of pregnancy when a woman is diagnosed with the placenta previa condition, it points to the fact that her placenta has shifted position and is now positioned lower than it is supposed to be which can lead to complications in the delivery.
Original position of placenta is close above the uterus, & its main role is to provide nutrition to the growing unborn. In placenta previa condition, placenta shifts near the uterus or sometimes is even seen covering the cervix.
Women could be diagnosed with the condition which has three sub-conditions: total; partial; and low lying placenta previa condition. Doctors monitor the position of placenta via ultrasound.
If condition of placenta previa is diagnosed in initial weeks of pregnancy it is not a cause of concern, because as woman advances in her pregnancy things do set themselves right. However, if the condition persists through the 2nd and 3rd trimester and it is revealed in ultrasound that the placenta is positioned close to cervix during mid pregnancy or later, then the status of deliver may get impacted.
The condition may sometimes lead to bleeding because of which caesarean section may have to be performed pre term. However this does not apply to all the placenta previa cases. If bleeding stops and health of mother and unborn is found to be recovering then the woman may be allowed to deliver on reaching full term.
Various fallouts of this condition are, haemorrhage to the mother; excessive bleeding, which may sometimes call for blood transfusion during as well as after pregnancy; may lead to complicated delivery, if placenta is stuck too deeply and doctors are not able to separate it at the time of delivery; babies delivered pre term may face health and infection related complications.
Placenta Previa Definition:
It is a medical condition associated with one in two hundred pregnant women. In this condition the placenta grows and positions itself abnormally. Placenta previa definition should cover all of the different conditions of this problem. It may lie low, or cover the cervix totally or partially, which in turn may lead to complications in pregnancy and may affect the mother as well as the newborn/unborn child. Its symptoms include heavy bleeding and cramps and the condition is mostly diagnosed in woman with large placenta, multiple previous pregnancies, age etc.
What Is Placenta Previa?
Placenta previa is a pregnancy related complication where placenta’s position blocks the cervix – baby’s way out. In normal pregnancy placenta attaches itself above uterus but in placenta previa, it gets attached to the down side of uterus. “What is placenta previa?” is the question that mothers who have this problem ask as soon as they hear that they probably have this problem. Main symptom is heavy bleeding which if allowed to go unattended may lead to life threatening consequences like haemorrhage etc for the mother, and child delivered before full term may also have to fight various complications.
Placenta Previa Symptoms
Placenta previa a serious pregnancy linked problem which may become life threatening complication for mother and unborn child. Its initial symptom is sudden, painless heavy bleeding, mostly experienced during second trimester. It may also be reported during first and third trimester, rare though. Placenta previa symptoms can be different from person to person. Sometimes the woman may also complain of uterine cramping while bleeding. At times bleeding stops by itself but reappears in a few days. Medical advice should be sought at the earliest.
Signs of Placenta Previa
Placenta previa does not necessarily show signs until woman reaches 20th week of her pregnancy or even later. Sometimes doctors discover it as late as when its time to take her to the labour room. Bright read coloured painless bleeding during the second or third trimester of pregnancy could be the initial sign signalling at existence of placenta previa condition. Signs of placenta previa is different in different persons. Some women may also experience cramp, and slight labour. There are ten percent chances that a woman will be wrongly diagnosed for placenta previa, and seven percent chances that the condition exists, signs are there and yet doctors have not been able to timely diagnose it.
Placenta Previa Causes
What causes placenta previa is not known. One in two hundred women suffer this condition and those who are at more risk are the ones who are giving birth in their advancing age, i.e. Women in late thirties and forties; who smoke during pregnancy; women with history of placenta previa in their earlier pregnancies; history of abortion or miscarriage, & cesarean section; multiple pregnancies (exceeding five); history of uterine surgery or irregularities; living in high altitudes etc are some of the causes that may lead to placenta previa. Therefore, placenta previa causes are also different and can not be limited to a narrow spectrum of problems.
Partial Placenta Previa
Placenta previa is a pregnancy related rare obstacle. It is categorised under three sub heads; complete previa; low lying previa; and partial previa. When placenta starts growing in the lower direction towards uterus and covers the cervical opening, woman is said to be suffering from placenta previa. And when this placenta grows and covers the opening of the cervix just partially, it is called partial placenta previa condition. Partial previa is common in early pregnancies due to the reason that there is not enough area within the uterus for placenta to encroach upon. Partial placenta previa is mostly diagnosed in 2nd trimester and has a merely two and a half percent chance that it will continue to show in third trimester.
Complete Placenta Previa
Complete placenta previa is said to be a serious condition for a woman, and is likely to lead to caesarean or c-section delivery. In extreme cases deliveries may have to be performed before term where the baby may not have fully grown. In complete placenta previa, placenta completely blocks / obstructs the opening from the womb till the cervix. The condition is seen to show up in women in their 20th week of conception, and for reasons unknown asian women and women carrying male foetus are more prone to it than women in other parts of the world or the ones carrying female foetuses.
Low Lying Placenta Previa
Low lying placenta previa is a type of placenta previa condition. When woman experiences this condition in her early or mid pregnancy, probabilities are that with time as pregnancy advances, the condition will correct itself. And by the time women reach her third trimester as the uterus grows, it will move upwards, and will be completely out of the way. With a low lying placenta previa which is positioned at the edge of the cervix in this particular condition, a woman has a fair chance of giving normal birth vaginally under strict administration of her doctor.
Marginal Placenta Previa
In marginal placenta previa condition, placenta gets implanted and starts to grow at the bottom of the uterus and starts pushing, up against the cervix. However marginal previa does not cover the opening. Placenta’s border almost starts touching the internal opening of the uterine cervix. If it overlaps even slightly then during labour as cervix begins to dilate slight bleeding may be noticed at the edge of placenta. Doctors don’t generally recommend c-section for this condition and if the procedure has to be decide, its done on the basis of position of placenta which is found out via ultrasound.
Placenta Previa Second Trimester
Placenta previa appearing during second trimester of pregnancy generally tend to go away by the time woman reaches her full term. However partial, low lying, and marginal cases of previa get taken care of better than complete previa. During 2nd trimester doctors keep the women with placenta previa condition under observation with regard to position of placenta and extent to which it is even with the internal os, based on which they try to envisage whether the condition is likely to persist during delivery or not.
Placenta Previa Pictures
|complete or total placenta previa:
(here you can see the placenta covering the cervix completely)
partial or marginal placenta previa:
(the placenta can be seen covering over the cervix partially)
Placenta Previa Treatment
Women diagnosed with placenta previa condition should know that there is no treatment which can change the location of the placenta, and that it can only be controlled. Therefore these women are generally asked to go on complete bed rest, avoid lifting heavy things and straining physically, abstain from sexual intercourse, and immediately inform his/her doctor if they experience bleeding. They should be rush to doctor if they are bleeding, which will help doctor decide whether the condition requires immediate C section and bring blood loss under control. Taking gestational period into consideration doctors may also decide to give steroid shots to mother to help grow unborn’s lung.
Placenta Previa Risks
Placenta previa by itself is a risky condition that hits 1 in two hundred pregnant women, wherein the placenta gets larger and shifts position in a way that it blocks the opening and baby’s exit track. Bleeding is one of the biggest placenta previa risks which can be dangerous for both child and bother. Another fall out could be that the baby may have to be delivered pre-term irrespective of its growth, because if the risk is not tackled in time it can be fatal for mother as well as the unborn child.
Placenta Previa Bleeding
Bleeding in placenta previa takes place when placenta separates from its implantation in the uterus before time. There are blood vessels in the placenta through which mother supplies nutrition to the baby and if placenta starts detaching early, the vessels break and bleed. The wider the detachment the more a woman bleeds. Or bleeding can also happen because the lower side of the uterus becomes quite thin during the third trimester as it is coming close to labour. This may lead to the placenta over the cervix get torn and start to bleed. If the bleeding cannot be controlled immediate caesarean section delivery is performed, irrespective of length of the pregnancy.
Placenta Previa at 20 Weeks
In the 20th week of pregnancy, size of woman’s placenta in comparison to her uterus is quite large and condition of previa does seem to show up in ultrasound. Diagnosing this, doctors hand her out a list of precautions. If marginal, partial, or low lying placenta previa at 20 weeks then it is more than likely that with time uterus will grow and placenta will move away from cervix and things will resume to normal and she will have a normal, at the most a c-section delivery. . Complete previa situation may however call for more care, monitoring, and frequent rounds at the doctor. If the woman experiences even slight bleeding, it should be immediately reported.
Placenta Previa First Trimester
Placenta previa, first of all is not a common a cause of worry if it is seen to occur during in the first trimester of woman’s pregnancy. In the first twelve weeks the foetus is still very small and so is size of uterus. The placenta invades the space during this phase, but as pregnancy advances and uterus grows, placenta gets pushed back.
Placenta Previa Emedicine
If woman experiences painless bleeding (mild or full force), cramping etc especially in the second trimester of her pregnancy she should bring it to the notice of her doctor immediately. The condition is not curable however it can be brought under control. Doctors may prescribe simple bed rest at home or steroid shots depending on the situation. It is always better to seek advice of your doctor.
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