There are numerous complications and side effects which can occur throughout pregnancy. While it should be a magical time, sadly not all pregnancies run smoothly. One of the rarer conditions which affects approximately 2% of pregnancies, is Placenta Previa.
Being diagnosed with Placenta Previa can understandably be daunting. However, it isn’t necessarily anything to be worried about. Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know about the condition and what to expect if you have it.
What Is Placenta Previa?
Placenta Previa occurs when the placenta attaches too low down in the uterine wall. There are actually three different types of the conditions including:
- Complete Previa
- Partial Previa
- Marginal Previa
Complete Previa is where the entire cervical opening is covered by the placenta. Partial Previa occurs when only a part of the cervix is covered, and marginal Previa is diagnosed when the placenta extends to just the edge of the cervix.
So, why does the placenta develop too low down in some pregnancies? Well, it’s largely caused when an embryo implants itself within the lower part of the uterus. The placenta grows around wherever the embryo is implanted. So, if the embryo is low down, the placenta will develop lower down too.
What Symptoms Should You Watch Out For?
The symptoms of Placenta Previa will vary between women, but the most common sign of the condition is bleeding. This tends to occur throughout the third trimester and the majority of the time it’s painless, though contractions can also occur.
It’s worth keeping in mind that there are many different potential causes of bleeding and spotting throughout pregnancy. Therefore, if you do notice any bleeding at all, it’s important to seek advice from your health professional.
Risk Factors And Complications
While Placenta Previa can occur during any pregnancy, there are a few risk factors to be aware of. The main risk factors include:
- If you are over 35 years of age
- You’ve previously undergone a caesarean
- You smoke
- You’ve undergone a previous operation to remove uterine fibroids
- You’re expecting more than one baby
- If you’ve had the condition with a previous pregnancy
If you are diagnosed with the condition, it can lead to numerous potential complications. If it does not resolve itself, it could lead to premature labor, or increased bleeding during labor.
How Is The Condition Treated?
The most common treatment for Placenta Previa, is bed rest. You will be advised to rest as much as possible, as well as attend more frequent hospital visits. In cases where the bleeding is particularly heavy, you may need to be put on bed rest in hospital.
You will likely be told to avoid having intercourse, as well as to limit travel and avoid any pelvic examinations. Depending upon how far along the pregnancy is, steroid shots may be required to help baby’s lungs develop. If the bleeding cannot be controlled, a caesarean will need to be performed no matter how far along the pregnancy is.
It’s worth noting that the majority of women with Placenta Previa need to have a caesarean birth anyway. The only exception is if you are suffering from marginal Placenta Previa, in which case a vaginal birth may still be achievable.
The Importance Of Finding The Right Support
Although Placenta Previa isn’t life threatening and it can resolve itself before the birth, finding out you have the condition can be difficult. If you need to have a lot of bed rest, this can also be really frustrating. So, it can help to talk with other mothers who are experiencing the same thing.
There are support groups for both women with Placenta Previa, as well as women who are required to get a lot of bed rest. You can ask your doctor to put you in touch with local groups, or you can look online to see whether there are any groups you can join there. Having people to talk to who are going through the same thing can be really helpful during difficult times. So, if you are struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out to other pregnant women with the condition.
You are also welcome to join our friendly parenting community, where you can talk with hundreds of other parents in a matter of minutes. To sign up for free, click here!
Overall, Placenta Previa can be a tough condition to deal with. However, help is available and there is a possibility it could resolve itself in time. If you are worried you are suffering from the condition, it’s important to seek medical advice as soon as possible.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a doctor or licensed medical professional before making any medical decisions.