Placenta Previa : All You Need To Know About It
Pregnancy is a journey lived differently by different individuals depending on the kind of environment they are surrounded by, some couples who live with parents definitely has a different approach to pregnancy as our parents being from the older generation always say "It’s not necessary to know everything about pregnancy, the less you know, the better it is" However, some couples live pregnancy differently and thoroughly educate themselves on each and everything happening to them during pregnancy and post pregnancy and ask a lot of questions from the gynaecologist even.
One such condition which is unheard of, less searched, couple’s doesn’t feel the need to know about, but is very important to know, is called "Placenta Previa or Low lying Placenta".
What is Placenta Previa?
Placenta, the giver of everything to the baby, the nutrition provider, the oxygen provider and the origin of the baby's umbilical cord, is the foremost important organ for the baby, which develops in the uterus of the mother. Any disruption or abnormality of the placenta is a life threatening situation for the mother and the baby. When the placenta grows and attaches itself from a low angle in the uterus where it may or may not cover the opening of the uterus; Cervix, is a condition called Placenta Previa.
Doctors usually have no justification as to why the placenta attaches itself in a particular way; however they say that in women aged more than 35, there is a lot of possibility for this rare condition to occur. Also, if a woman had some kind of surgery in the past or complications with her menstruation resulting in fibroids, Placenta Previa develops. I had none of these; still I was diagnosed with Placenta Previa in my 12 weeks ultrasound.
How to detect Placenta Previa?
This rare condition usually gets detected while you go through your 12 weeks ultrasound in the first trimester. Doctors will tell you to be extra cautious of the situation, as placenta being low lying poses a risk of placental abruption (detaching of the placenta from the uterus). At any point of time during pregnancy, when the mother bends, or puts pressure on the vagina through any physical or sexual activity resulting in vaginal bleeding, that is also one of the symptoms of low lying placenta. Doctors might put you on complete
bed rest for the entire duration of pregnancy depending upon how low the placenta is implanted in the uterus, totally covering the uterus, partially covering or marginally.
What are the different types of Placenta Previa?
When the placenta is totally covering the opening of the uterus, it is called Complete Previa. In this case, there is absolutely no possibility of having a normal delivery or a natural birth. In this condition, the woman will have to be on complete bed rest till the time she enters her final trimester and crosses the 33 weeks of gestation period. The woman might also be kept in hospital for continuous health monitoring, her legs elevated, and in a position higher than that of the body to restrict bleeding. Any movement like going to the washroom or getting up from the bed for any other activity is completely restricted, as this might lead to heavy bleeding, resulting in emergency c-section and preterm delivery of the baby.
Marginal Previa: Another situation, wherein the placenta is marginally or partially covering the cervix, detected through scheduled ultrasounds, the doctors might prescribe some medicines or some physical exercises where in, the women can change the position of the placenta. It is seen that during the final weeks of pregnancy, a lot of women have been able to have normal deliveries despite initially having a low lying placenta, because the placenta moved upwards after 34-35 weeks of pregnancy, when the uterus expanded to make way for the baby to grow.
What Precautions to take with Placenta Previa?
Some of the precautions a woman can take while she is diagnosed with Placenta Previa are as follow:
-Avoid travel post 22 weeks of pregnancy, as sitting upright for a longer period of time might put pressure on the placenta.
-Avoid any physical activity of any kind, like daily chores, prenatal exercises, swimming, walking or climbing the stairs, because this leads to bleeding.
-Avoid eating heavy food which will increase your frequency of washroom visits, because sitting on the pot is also a risky position for Placenta Previa.
No matter what parents, neighbours, friends or acquaintances say, women should avoid everything which may disturb her placental position resulting in bleeding of any kind. Also no sexual activity or sexual contact of any kind should be done; hence your partner should also be warned about the risks of low lying placenta.
What happens when the Placenta is low lying?
In Placenta Previa, the bleeding can happen anytime of the day (mostly at night), the woman has to be extra cautious during the second trimester of pregnancy. If bleeding happens during the 7th or 8th month of pregnancy, the bleeding is usually unstoppable and quite heavy which needs immediate doctor intervention. In some cases, if the bleeding is unstoppable even after hospitalisation and immediate treatment, then Doctors are forced to take certain decisions of taking the baby out of the womb, before the due date.
The baby born is premature or preterm depending on the week of gestation, and is made to survive in NICU and special care units. In some cases, the doctors usually injects "Betamethasone" into the women’s body, having a low lying placenta, to mature the lungs of the baby, suspecting that if a preterm delivery happens, the baby and its growth is taken care of, this has also saved my pregnancy to a larger extent and my baby was born with a healthy respiratory system at 34 weeks of gestation. No matter what happens during the entire term of pregnancy, if or not bleeding takes place, or it takes place only at the time of delivery, women who are diagnosed with Placenta Previa has to be donated extra blood during surgery because her blood loss is too high.
What to do if you have Placenta Previa?
You can add certain iron supplements and Vitamins to your daily dose of medicines during pregnancy because you require extra generation of blood in your body, if your placenta is low. Another great thing you can do is try eating fat generating food items, more in calories and fat, during the last trimester of pregnancy, so that, if the baby has to be born before term then the baby's weight is compensated through the extra calories you consumed during the last few days before delivery.
Placenta Previa is a rare condition in India, however, it’s becoming more common now, it is said that usually when a woman conceives a boy, Placenta is attached at a low angle. So making sure that you experience a beautiful pregnancy with less panic and chaos, it is important to be educated on this condition before hand and always make it a point to ask the doctor after every ultrasound i.e.; whether the position of placenta has changed for good or worse as your pregnancy is progressing if you are the one having this condition.
A working mommy of one son, currently associated with the Ed-tech sector, She has done MBA in International business and has lived and worked in three countries- UAE, New Zealand and India. Sanya has a knack at different parenting styles in the world, mainly the western style and the Indian style. She is a shopaholic, who loves to travel and write, and is very active on social media platforms.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.