Thursday, September 20, 2012

Understanding Placenta Previa: Low Lying Placenta and Bleeding During Pregnancy

The placenta supplies nutrients and oxygen to the developing baby as well as gets rid of waste products from the baby's blood. Placenta previa is an condition associated with abnormal positioning of the placenta in the uterus (low lying placenta), which in turn can be very dangerous for the health of the mother and the unborn child. Understanding placenta previa as a condition along with its symptoms and treatment options is important. While there are clear reasons, there are some risk factors associated with placenta previa.

It is vital to understand the causes of placenta previa and the treatment for placenta previa; and importantly, not get apprehensive and frightened if there is bleeding during early pregnancy or spotting during pregnancy. Confer with your obstetrician and she will advise you on the best course of management.
The placenta fastens to the uterine wall, and the baby's umbilical cord emerges from it. In nearly all pregnancies, the placenta gets attached at the top or the side of the uterus. In case of placenta previa, the placenta fastens itself to the lower aspect of the uterus.

By and Large, Placenta Previa Requires a C-Section
What is Placenta Previa?: Bleeding During Pregnancy

Placenta previa is a medical condition wherein the placenta partly or completely covers the cervix, between the uterus and the vagina. It can result in severe during pregnancy and delivery.
If you have placenta previa, your health care provider will recommend bed rest for a part of your pregnancy and you will in all likelihood have a caesarean section to safely deliver the baby.

Placenta Previa Symptoms: Placenta Previa Bleeding and Cramping During Pregnancy

The most frequently seen symptom of placenta previa is bright red, painless vaginal bleeding during the second half of the pregnancy. Bleeding may be light to heavy. By and large, the bleeding tends to stop without any treatment, but it is known to recur days or weeks later. Some complain of contractions. Occasionally, there may not be any presenting feature at all; and the diagnosis is made during sonography.

Complete Placenta Previa and Partial Placenta Previa

If the placenta covers the cervix entirely, it's called a total placenta previa or complete placenta previa. If it's at the border of the cervix or some part of the opening of the cervix, it is known as called a marginal placenta previa or partial placenta previa. If the edge of the placenta is within two centimeters of the cervix, but not bordering it, it is called a low-lying placenta.

Placenta Previa Causes and Placenta Previa Risk Factors

The placenta forms where the embryo implants itself. When the embryo gets implanted in the lower segment of the uterus, placenta previa occurs.
If the placenta is only just reaching the cervix, it may resolve; given that, with the expansion of the uterus, the placenta gets pulled higher up in the uterus, away from the opening of the cervix. On the other hand, if the placenta is right across the cervix, it not likely to resolve.
Risk factors associated with placenta previa include:
  • A caesarean section
  • Surgery to remove fibroids
  • Dilation and curettage
Placenta previa is commoner among women who:
  • Have delivered at least one baby
  • Had placenta previa with a previous pregnancy
  • Have multiple pregnancies
  • 35 years or older
  • Smoke
  • Are Asian
Placenta Previa Diagnosis: Pregnancy Spotting Diagnosis

Placenta previa is diagnosed via ultrasound, during a routine investigation or after an occurrence of vaginal bleeding.
Your obstetrician will avoid routine vaginal exams to diminish the risk of heavy bleeding. You will require extra ultrasounds to establish the precise position of the placenta before delivery.

Placenta Previa Treatment: Treatment for Low Lying Placenta

Your obstetrician will keep an eye on you and your baby to decrease the risk of complications:
  • The biggest concern with placenta previa is the risk of severe bleeding during labor, delivery or the first few hours after delivery. Bleeding can be life threatening as well.
  • Severe bleeding may require an emergency caesarean section before the baby is full term.
In case of little or no bleeding, bed rest at home is advised. Your doctor will advise you to lie in bed most of the time, sitting and standing only when essential. Avoid sex, it triggers bleeding. Do not exercise. Seek emergency care if you bleed.
If the placenta does not cover the cervix wholly, your doctor may attempt a vaginal delivery. If you begin to bleed severely, you will require an emergency caesarean section.

For heavy bleeding, you need bed rest in the hospital. Blood transfusion may be needed as well. Medicines may be administered to put off premature labor. After 36 weeks of pregnancy, your health care provider will plan a caesarean section.

If the bleeding won’t stop or the baby is in distress, you will require an emergency caesarean section, even if your baby is preterm.

How to Cope With Placenta Previa?: Managing Low Lying Placenta

When diagnosed with placenta previa, you are sure to be anxious and tensed about your delivery and how your baby will be affected. The following guidelines will help you deal better with the stress associated with the condition:
  • Learn all about placenta previa. Learning about the condition helps you feel less scared.
  • Be prepared for a caesarean section. Remind yourself that your baby's health and your health are more important than the method of delivery.
  • Take plenty of bed rest. Read about newborn care; balance your checkbook, systematize photo albums, read books, talk to friends, and stay happy.
  • Pamper yourself. Surround yourself with things that bring comfort, let people visit you, have a foot massage and listen to music.

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