Define placenta previa .

 

Placenta previa is when your placenta is lying low in your uterus next to or covering your cervix- the doorway between the uterus and the vagina. The placenta supplies the fetus with nutrients through the umbilical cord and removes it’s waste. This complication causes severe bleeding before or during delivery. If it occurs early in pregnancy, there is usually no health risk. This is  because  as the uterus grows, the placenta usually moves higher in the uterus, away from the cervix. However, if it occurs later in pregnancy , it becomes a problem. Placenta previa is usually  diagnosed during the second trimester ultrasound.

 

placenta previa

 

Am I at risk ?

 

You are at higher risk of placenta previa if

 

    • you had some kind of uterine surgery (such as a D&C or fibroid removal).
    • pregnant with multiples
    • you previously had c – section delivery
    • you are older than 35 years
    • you are a cigarette smoker
    • you are asian

 

 

How do I know I have placenta previa?

 

If you experience  bright red vaginal bleeding which is usually painless during the second trimester, it may be a sign of this condition. The bleeding may be light or heavy and may resolve on it’s own without any medication but may recur days or weeks later. You may also experience contractions.

 

I have placenta previa . What are my options?

 

Treatment options depend on  how far along you are in pregnancy, amount of bleeding, position of placenta, your health and baby’s health.

 

You may be put on bed rest for the remaining of your pregnancy if you have little or no bleeding.

 

If you are experiencing heavy bleeding , you may need hospitalization. You will be put on bed rest, get blood transfusion to replace lost blood and medication to avoid premature labor may be administered.

 

If your condition is severe , the latest you will deliver is 37 weeks, or in some cases earlier than that.

 
Content Sources

Placenta previa. Mayo Foundation. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/placenta-previa/basics/definition/con-20032219. Accessed June 11, 2014
Placenta previa. March of Dimes. Accessed June 11, 2014
Placenta previa. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus . http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000900.htm. Accessed June 11, 2014
Placenta previa. American Pregnancy Association.http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/placentaprevia.html. Accessed June 11, 2014

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