Placenta Previa

Placenta Previa


What is Placenta Previas

The placenta (or afterbirth) is an organ that is formed during pregnancy only and lasts only until the end of the pregnancy. It transfers nutrients and oxygen from mother to baby and is necessary for the excretion of metabolic products. The course of pregnancy along with the state of the fetus and the childbirth outcome largely depend on the placenta’s state.

During pregnancy doctors use ultrasound to monitor the placenta’s state. It allows them to notice certain pathologies (for example, the condition called placenta previa) on time. Placenta previa is usually diagnosed in the second half of pregnancy as it can change its position before this time. Bleeding or bloody issues along with cramping pain are the main symptoms of the placenta previa.

Types of Placenta Previa

There are four types of placenta previa:

  • frontal placenta previa (on frontal wall);
  • low-lying placenta previa (low);
  • marginal placenta previa (incomplete);
  • full placenta previa (central).

Frontal placenta previa. After fertilization, fertilized egg is attached to frontal uterine wall. There’s almost nothing serious in this diagnosis, but future mother still requires close medical attention as frontal uterine wall stretches during pregnancy and this can lead to the displacement or even to the detachment of placenta. The most alarming thing is that frontal placenta previa isn’t bothering woman at all: there are no symptoms, so this condition isn’t always diagnosed on time.

Low-lying placenta previa. In this case the placenta is attached closer to uterine os that lies lower and so there can be 2-6 cm distance between the placenta and the uterus. In this case, as in the previous, the placenta can shift downwards, blocking the internal uterine os, but it can also raise to the maximum allowable position.

Marginal (or partial) placenta previa. If a pregnant woman is diagnosed with marginal placenta previa, this means that her placenta is covering a part of uterine os. There are two types of marginal placenta previa: side one (when placenta covers 2/3 of the uterine os) and marginal one (when placenta covers only 1/3 of the uterine os). The placenta’s location may change during childbirth: in this case it’ll switch to the correct position and woman will be able to give birth naturally.

Full placenta previa. It’s the most dangerous type of placenta’s pathology. In this case the placental tissue fully covers the entrance to internal uterine os, complicating the childbirth greatly (it is impossible to give birth naturally in this case). The contractions violate the integrity of blood vessels, leading to bleeding and fetal hypoxia, threatening both mother’s and baby’s lives. Pregnant women with this condition have to remain under constant medical supervision.

Causes of Placenta Previa

Placenta Previa 1

There can be several causes of placenta previa and one of them is the damage of the endometrium (the inner uterine layer). The endometrium that is situated in back uterine part damages less often, but if this happens, the fertilized egg attaches itself to more optimal location. Inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases, scars, abortions etc. can cause this damage.

If the fertilized egg is attached incorrectly, this can also cause the delay of its development and so the fertilized egg won’t be able to attach itself to the endometrium on time. In this case implantation will happen in lower uterine parts. Scientists notice that multiparous women have this condition more often than nulliparous ones.

Treatment of Placenta Previa

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to treat the placenta previa with the help of medicine. It’s important to diagnose this condition on time, which can be done with the help of pelvic examinations and ultrasound. Such patients have to remain under constant medical supervision: in this case doctors won’t miss the opportunity to stop the bleeding on time and to save the baby. Women, who’ve been diagnosed with marginal or full placenta previa, are hospitalized and prescribed with a strict bed rest.

Childbirth With Placenta Previa

Placenta Previa 2

If woman has frontal or low-lying placenta previa, she can give birth naturally (unless the placenta migrates during pregnancy). If women has marginal or full placenta previa (especially the last one), she has to give birth with the help of caesarean section on 38th week of pregnancy, before the contractions.

The risk of postpartum bleeding is very high in this case. The placenta previa can be accreted too, which is very dangerous. This usually happens when there’s a scar on uterine wall. If it cannot be stopped by curettage or manual inspection, the uterus has to be removed and woman, unfortunately, won’t be able to have children again.

How to Behave if You Have Placenta Previa

Firstly, you have to follow all doctor’s recommendations if you want to this condition to be diagnosed as early as possible. Do not miss control examinations and do all the prescribed ultrasounds.

Secondly, don’t be nervous. Stress is incredibly dangerous for women with this condition as it leads to the pressure increase, uterine tone and the development of the bleeding.

Be sure to minimize physical exercises and every influence on the stomach, including touches of strangers: they frighten the baby and cause the uterine tone, which can lead to serious consequences.

You also should refrain from sexual contact if the doctor tells you so. If a pregnant woman is diagnosed with a placenta previa, she should receive enough positive emotions, consume a necessary amount of fresh vitamins and walk a lot.

In order to reduce the risk of placenta previa, you should avoid hypothermia, inflammations of the pelvic organs and abortions. Plan your pregnancy carefully, take all the necessary examinations and go through the treatment of both parents if it’s necessary. Placenta previa can lead to irreversible consequences, to make it impossible to have children and to endanger both mother’s and baby’s lives.

Video: My High Risk Pregnancy: Placenta Previa

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