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Here’s What You Should Know About Low Lying Placenta

Pregnancy and childbirth are nothing short of miracles. Right from how the baby is conceived to how the mother nurtures him or her in her womb, to how childbirth happens, there are a multitude of things involved in the entire process and key changes that take place in the mother’s body to facilitate the growth of the new life.

From hormonal changes and a growing tummy to mood swings and weird cravings, there is a reason why each of these changes happen.

Book an online appointment with Dr. Samatha Kumar for Pregnancy & Gynecology related issues.

How Do You Know That You Have Placenta Previa?

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During pregnancy, your baby grows inside your uterus or womb. To support the nutrition of your growing baby, you also have another organ called the placenta, which is responsible for supplying food and oxygen to your baby, while filtering your baby’s blood. It will continue being attached to your uterus all through the nine months of pregnancy and will get delivered after your baby is born.

Usually, in the initial stages of pregnancy, the placenta is towards the bottom of your womb, near the cervix or the opening, However, as your baby grows and your uterus expands, your placenta will automatically move towards the top, leaving the opening clear for the birth.

While that’s how things work naturally, for many women, if the placenta continues being towards the bottom of the uterus, blocking the cervix. This condition is known as placenta previa or low lying placenta.

Doctors recommend regular scans during pregnancy and one of the objectives is to determine the position of the placenta. Usually, during the 20th-week scan, your doctor will get a clear understanding of where your placenta is and subsequent scans will help see if the position is getting corrected. Apart from the scans, there are some symptoms that could also indicate a low lying placenta including, unexplained vaginal bleeding, severe cramps, and bleeding after intercourse. You need to consult the doctor when you experience these symptoms.

Are You At Risk For Placenta Previa?

There are certain reasons why you as an expectant mother could be more at risk for placenta previa. These could include:

  • One in 200 pregnancies
  • Multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc)
  • Previous surgeries including cesarean delivery or any surgeries related to the uterus.
  • Lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking
  • Age - older than 35
  • Had placenta previa with a previous pregnancy.

What To Do If You Have Placenta Previa?

A lot depends on the kind of placenta previa you have. In case it's partial (partially covering the cervix), or if it’s partial ( placenta is partially covering the mother’s cervix) or complete. However, in cases of full placenta previa, where the placenta covers the entire cervix, cesarean birth or even premature births could happen. In partial placenta previa, vaginal delivery is still likely possible.

Usually, if you are diagnosed with placenta previa, your doctor will take several points into consideration.

  • The first one is the stage of your pregnancy. If you are still in your initial months, the doctor will check if the position corrects itself. Else, you will be given instructions including bed rest.
  • Your symptoms will also help the doctor take a call in terms of what the next steps should be. If you are experiencing light bleeding, you may be asked to take bed rest but if the bleeding is heavy, you may be hospitalized and monitored.
  • Depending on how much blood you have lost, you may require blood transfusion and you might be given medications to prevent premature delivery.
  • The position and health of your baby are a big factor too. If your baby is in distress, doctors may suggest going for a C-section delivery as soon as it is safe to give birth.
  • The kind of placenta previa you have is one of the most significant factors mentioned above.
  • If you have been diagnosed with placenta previa or low lying placenta, please make sure you maintain a restricted activity and avoid stress or strenuous physical tasks. It also helps if you are mentally prepared for a cesarean birth as that will make things easier for you. Most importantly, stay in touch with your doctor so that you are able to bring attention to any change that could be significant. Stay calm and trust your doctor to make the best choices for you.


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