Discovering the fact that you’re pregnant can be one of the most joyful moments of your life, and as the bliss of having your own baby starts to set in, you’ll also feel an increased sense of responsibility coming in.
During pregnancy, it is important to stay updated about the diet and lifestyle to be followed, as well as possible complications and their symptoms to stay updated and detect any possible problems in the early stage itself. Keep reading to know more about one such condition known as placenta previa.
What Is Placenta Previa?
Placenta previa is basically said to occur when the placenta completely or partially covers the opening in the mother’s cervix- the end of the uterus that connects to the vagina. This condition can lead to severe bleeding before or during labor and childbirth.
In normal conditions, the placenta attaches itself to the walls of the uterus, whereas during placenta previa, it attaches itself to the lower end of the uterus. Women suffering from this condition are advised to avoid physical exertion and undergo a C-section to safely deliver the baby. (1)
[ Read: Blood Clot In Placenta During Pregnancy ]
Causes Of Placenta Previa During Pregnancy:
The cause of placenta previa is unknown, however, it is believed that this condition occurs more in women who are older when they are pregnant, and in women who tend to smoke. Having more than one baby (twins, triplets or more) could also raise the risk of having placenta previa.
It is also believed that women who have undergone a C-section, or any other surgery of the uterus are also more likely to be affected by placenta previa. (2) Apart from these, there are a few other possible causes of placenta previa during pregnancy.
- Scarring on the lining of the uterus due to a previous pregnancy or any surgery.
- Abnormally shaped uterus.
- Previous multiple pregnancies. (3)
Symptoms Of Placenta Previa During Pregnancy:
Some women affected by placenta previa don’t experience any symptoms whatsoever, while others may have the following symptoms:
- Sudden vaginal bleeding, mostly painless.
- Symptoms of early labor such as contractions, aches and pain in the lower belly and back. (4)
[ Read: Role of Placenta During Pregnancy ]
Who’s At Risk?
Placenta previa is believed to affect 4 in every 1000 pregnancies, mostly beyond the 20th week of gestation. It has been found that Asian women are at a higher risk of being affected by placenta previa than other women, however, the reason behind this is still unclear.
Apart from that, it has also been found that carrying male foetuses could increase the risk of a woman being affected by placenta previa. (5)
[ Read: How Common Is Retained Placenta ]
How Is Placenta Previa Treated?
The treatment for low placenta varies and depends upon a number of factors including the following:
- The health of the mother
- The health of the baby
- The position of the baby
- The location of the placenta
- The blood loss
- The gestational age of the baby
Most treatment options for placenta praevia are aimed at making the symptoms manageable and prolonging the pregnancy. These may include:
- Blood transfusion (in case of blood loss)
- Close monitoring
- Checking the mother’s vital signs regularly (blood pressure etc)
- Complete bed rest
- Avoiding activities that trigger uterine contractions
- Avoiding sexual intercourse and orgasms (6)
Sometimes, steroid shots may also be given to help the baby’s lungs mature, but this depends largely on the gestational age. If the bleeding isn’t controllable, an immediate C-section may be needed, irrespective of the length of pregnancy. (7)
Did you find this article informative and engaging? Did it help improve your knowledge about an important possible complication of pregnancy? Do let us know in the comments box below.
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