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What is Placenta Previa? Know All About It.

by | January 1, 2019

Placenta Previa is a pregnancy condition where the placenta lies very low in your uterus, possibly even covering the cervix. The placenta is an organ the provides nutrients to your baby via the umbilical cord.

Placenta Previa
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What is Placenta Previa

When the placenta is next to the cervix, but not touching it, it’s called a low lying placenta. If it is bordering the cervix, it’s called a marginal previa. If the cervix is covered entirely by the placenta, that’s a complete previa.

A placenta previa early in pregnancy isn’t generally considered an issue, but you will be monitored with an ultrasound at around sixteen to twenty weeks to check the placement of the placenta.

If the placenta is lying low and close to the cervix later in pregnancy, it may cause bleeding, which can lead to complications and could possibly lead to an early delivery. If you have previa when the time comes to deliver your baby, you’ll have to have a cesarean section.

What does a placenta previa diagnosis mean?

If you’re diagnosed with previa early on in the pregnancy, the placenta will more than likely migrate as your pregnancy progresses. The placenta is implanted in the uterus, so it doesn’t move by itself, but it will grow with the uterus and can end up growing towards the richer blood supply.

In the second trimester, if a placenta previa is seen on your ultrasound, you’ll need to have a follow-up early in the third trimester to see where the placenta is located.

What will happen if my previa persists through the third-trimester?

If in the third trimester your follow-up ultrasound shows a low-lying or placenta previa, you will be put on pelvic rest, meaning that you won’t be able to have sex or vaginal exams for the rest of the pregnancy. You will also be advised to take it easy and avoid activities that might provoke vaginal bleeding.

You will need to have a c-section when delivery time comes, as the placenta will block the cervix. The placenta can also bleed heavily as the cervix dilates.

There may be some vaginal bleeding caused by dilation and thinning of the cervix in the third trimester. You will need to be hospitalized if this happens.

If you’re close to full-term when this happens, your baby will be delivered by c-section right away. If you’re still pre-term, you will be monitored in the hospital until the bleeding stops. In severe cases, you may need to deliver your baby prematurely. If this is the case, you’ll be given a shot of corticosteroids to speed up baby’s lung development.

If the bleeding stops and you and your baby continue to do well, you will have a scheduled c-section at around 37 weeks, unless there’s a reason to deliver earlier.

Having placenta previa increases your chances of heavy bleeding and needing a blood transfusion. This can happen during and after delivery as well as in pregnancy. There’s a possibility for placenta accreta, where the placenta is implanted too deeply and doesn’t separate after delivery. This can cause severe blood loss and the need for multiple blood transfusions.

Who’s most at risk for placenta previa?

Many women who develop previa have no apparent risk factors.

These are some of the risk factors that may lead to previa:

  • You’ve had previous placenta previa.
  • You’ve had previous c-sections.
  • You’ve had uterine surgery; such as a D&C or fibroid removal.
  • You’re pregnant with multiples.
  • You’re smoke cigarettes.
  • You’re a cocaine user.

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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]



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