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Placenta Previa: Causes, Risk, & Treatment

December 3, 2020

The placenta is a very crucial organ on the lining of a woman’s uterus, which is activated when she is pregnant. It carries oxygen and nutrients to the foetus while protecting it against internal infections, it also connects to the baby through the umbilical cord.

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● In a normal pregnancy, the placenta gets attached to the top right or top left of the uterus

● It moves up or to the side as the womb stretches during pregnancy

● A normal placenta looks like an oval disk with a cord attached to its centre

● It plays an important role in the development of the baby

● A healthy placenta goes a long way in ensuring a safe pregnancyImportant functions that the placenta performs.

● It helps hormone generation to further the growth of the foetus in the uterus

● It is responsible for removing waste from the foetus’s blood

● It attaches the foetus to the walls of the uterus and keeps the baby in a proper position providing security

Must read: Calcification of Placenta in Pregnancy

Placenta Previa

Placenta previa is a rare medical condition that develops in pregnant women. According to research, placenta previa occurs in 1 out of 200 pregnant women every year. ‘Placenta Previa’ or low-lying placenta occurs in pregnancy when the placenta develops in a way covering the cervix completely or partially. This poses a risk to the baby and the mother during labor and delivery, as it may get damaged when the cervix opens. The placenta may detach itself too early from the uterus leading to severe bleeding. In such a case the child may be born with defects.

Placenta previa does not normally cause pain during pregnancy. But, in case any discomfort is experienced, one should inform their doctor about it. Vaginal bleeding is the most serious risk of placenta previa. This is most likely to occur in the third trimester when the lower lining of the uterus thins to prepare for delivery. This may cause bleeding in the placenta covering the cervix.

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If the placenta is a low-lying one, then it is attached to the lower region of the uterus as against the usual position of the upper or side upper regions in a normal pregnancy. When the movement of the placenta does not occur properly by the third trimester, it results in the development of placenta previa. We still don’t know why placenta previa occurs, however, there might be some relation between its occurrence and past problems or habits of a patient.

  • Placenta previa can be further classified basis the area of the cervix, the placenta covers.
  • Posterior placenta previa is when the placenta is positioned towards the back of the uterus
  • Anterior placenta previa is when the placenta is positioned towards the front of the uterus

To Know More: About Uterine rupture during pregnancy – causes symptoms treatments

Types of placenta previa are listed below:

  • Marginal Placenta Previa
  • Partial Placenta Previa
  • Total Placenta Previa

Signs of Placenta Previa

  • Painless bleeding from the second trimester.
  • The size of the uterus seems larger than it should be as per gestational age.
  • Cramping accompanied by sharp pain.

If this condition happens, this has to be treated individually. Mothers are generally instructed:

  • To do bed rest in total placenta previa and symptomatic cases
  • Abstinence
  • Nutritious Diet to ensure fetal weight gain
  • To ensure a proper evaluation to determine the complicated variety i.e acreta, percreta which are potentially life-threatening

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