Placenta previa is a condition during pregnancy where the placenta attaches itself to the uterus in such a way that it covers the cervical column either partially or completely. In some cases it may not cover the cervical opening but may be placed a little too close it. Normally the placenta attaches itself to the mid to upper uterine area whereas in case of placenta previa it is located in the lower segment of uterus.
In most of the cases the placenta rises gradually and attains a favourable position by the third trimester. This condition can lead to obstruction of cervical opening thereby forcing the doctors to conduct surgery i.e. caesarean section to take the baby out instead of a vaginal delivery.
The causes behind placenta previa are placement of fertilised ovum too low in the uterus, lifting of heavy items, history of placenta previa in earlier pregnancy and scarring of uterine tissues. The major symptom of low placenta is spotting and bleeding during pregnancy. The seriousness and consequent results of placenta previa can be better understood by discussing the types of placenta previa.
Types Of Placenta Previa
Minor grade of placenta previa can classified as Grade 1 and 2. This kind of previa does not block the cervix but the classification is based on the degree of its nearness to the Cervical opening.
Grade 1 Minor
Under grade 1 minor kind, the placenta does not cover cervical opening at all though it is placed low. In grade 1, the placenta is a few centimetres away from the cervical opening and does not pose any threat of rupturing or blocking the baby as it passes through its mother’s vaginal tract. However, the intercourse is prohibited in this type of pregnancy.
Grade 2 Minor
Under grade 2 minor condition, though the placenta does not cover the cervix but it is right at its edge. This should usually correct itself by the third trimester. If you experience bleeding or spotting then bed rest might be recommended. Usually if the placenta is at least two centimetres away from the cervical opening at the time of birth then a normal vaginal delivery can be attempted. If the placenta has been diagnosed as low in the first trimester then there is no need to worry at all unless you are experiencing spotting or bleeding.
Under Major placenta previa, again there could be either partial or complete obstruction of cervix by placenta. This condition can lead to the baby being delivered by caesarean section.
Source : http://pregnancy.familyeducation.com/second-trimester/19-weeks-2-days.html
In this condition, the doctor may recommend complete bed rest especially in the advanced stages of the pregnancy so that the baby does not put pressure on the placenta which may obstruct the supply of oxygen and nutrients or inducing an early labour. The mother is most likely to experience bleeding and spotting in this kind of placenta previa. Intercourse is also strictly prohibited as there is a danger of placenta rupturing or detaching itself from the uterus.
Under this condition, the placenta blocks the cervical opening but only partially. There are chances of it correcting itself by third semester. The pregnancy is monitored closely. In most of the cases, there is no need to worry except being cautious.
Unlike partial or minor placenta previa, a complete one is less likely to correct itself with the progress in pregnancy. This possibility becomes stronger if by second trimester the placenta is still covering the cervical opening completely. This condition can also be life threatening for the mother as well as the baby. This condition is also known to occur in the end of the gestation period and needs a proactive approach by the doctors in order to deliver the baby safely.
Photo Credit: http://www.pitterpatter.com.my/placenta-previa/