Placenta Previa Overview, Signs And Complication

Placenta Previa

Placenta Previa The fantasy of pregnancy might still be lingering around when the diagnosis for placenta previa may seem more than a spoilsport. Placenta previa is a complication in pregnancy where the placenta grows abnormally.

Usually, the placenta grows on the upper part of the uterus clear off the cervix. In placenta previa, the placenta grows in a way to partially or wholly cover the cervix (which is the passage for delivery). This is likely to obstruct delivery and cause complications both to the mother and her child.

Placenta Previa Signs And Complication

What is Placenta Pervia?

The placenta is an important organ which is created in a woman’s womb during pregnancy. It is responsible for providing nourishment to the fetus and sustain the pregnancy. It is attached to the upper part of the uterine wall through blood vessels and grows during pregnancy.  Sometimes, it happens that the placenta lies low in the uterus and can partially or wholly block the cervix.

Placenta previa is found to affect almost 1 in 200 pregnancies.  Women who have delivered, undergone surgery on the uterus or have experienced a cesarean delivery are usually at risk for developing placenta previa though these are not essentially indicative of the condition. The exact reason for placenta previa is not known.

Signs And  Symptoms

Unfortunately, placenta previa may not reveal signs until the 20th week of pregnancy (sometimes, even later). Furthermore, signs may differ from woman to woman and doctors may find them tricky for diagnosis.

 mild labor or cramps

There can be sudden vaginal bright red bleeding during the second or third trimester of pregnancy without pain. It may be light or heavy. In some cases, women can experience mild labor or cramps. Early labor, like regular contractions and pains in lower back or belly can be sign of placenta previa.

Complications

With a normal progressing pregnancy, the uterus grows and the placenta (usually) moves higher away from the cervix. But in placenta previa, the placenta remains near the cervix posing risk for bleeding particularly during labor. There is possibility of excessive blood loss in the pregnant woman which can be highly dangerous both for the mother and her child. She is usually made to deliver her baby before the due date by cesarean delivery to avoid complications and potential problems. Sometimes, a hysterectomy is the only way to perform childbirth.

Birth Defects

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/cleftlip.html

The placenta may also separate from the uterine wall (placenta abruption) during labor when the  cervix begins to open. Besides, the baby is also at risk for developing birth defects when the mother suffers from placenta pervia. Rarely, placenta previa can result into a stillbirth or death of the  newborn.

Conclusion

The diagnosis of placenta previa can be overwhelming and shocking with all the plans for a healthy pregnancy being upset. However, there are treatment measures which can help women cope with the difficult stage. A previous placenta previa may also bring in anxiety and apprehensions regarding future  pregnancy. It is advised to consult a doctor as early as possible should there be any sign(s) of the condition. Take help from family members and counselor(s) to determine the right treatment and coping mechanism so that you can enjoy a healthy pregnancy to the best of the possibility.

Photo Credit: http://www.chw.org/display/PPF/DocID/23205/router.asp