What is placenta previa?


Know the basics

What is placenta previa?

The placenta is a pancake-shape organ placed on the upper part of the uterus with function of feeding the fetus with oxygen and nutrients as well as removes waste products from your baby’s blood. The cervix is the opening of the uterus and connects it to the vagina. Placenta previa develops when the placenta grows at the lowest point of the uterus, covering part or the entire cervix.

It is a pregnancy complication and might make child birth more difficult. You are restricted from physical exertion for a portion of your pregnancy. Most women with placenta previa need C-section.

If the placenta covers the cervix completely, it’s called a complete or total previa. If it only cover the edge of the cervix, it’s called a marginal previa. If it’s a on a portion of the cervix, it’s called partial previa.

How common is placenta previa?

Placenta previa occurs in 1 out of 200 pregnancies in the third trimester of pregnancy. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of placenta previa?

Placenta previa is not a concern if it is found in early pregnancy. However, if it continues later in the pregnancy, it might cause painless, sudden bleeding from the vagina. The bleeding may stop on its own but can start again days or weeks later. Bleeding during pregnancy is dangerous as it can lead to other complications and increase the risk of premature birth.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes placenta previa?

The placenta grows wherever the embryo implants itself in the uterus. In the case that the embryo implants in the lower portion of the uterus, the placenta might grow near or over the cervix, causing placenta previa.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for placenta previa?

There are many risk factors for placenta previa, such as:

  • An abnormally shaped uterus;
  • Many previous pregnancies;
  • Multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Scarring on the lining of the uterus due to a history of surgery, C-section, previous pregnancy, or abortion;
  • In vitro fertilization.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is placenta previa diagnosed?

Doctors can find out about placenta previa during ultrasound test to check the baby’s health as well as your placenta position in regular pregnancy check-up.

In rare instances, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to determine placental location.

How is placenta previa treated?

If being diagnosed of placenta previa, patient needs to reduce physical activites, have bed rest and be put on “pelvic rest,” which means no intercourse or vaginal exams for the rest of your pregnancy. You will need to avoid vigorous exercise and strenuous activities.

You may need to stay in the hospital so your health care team can closely monitor you and your baby. Other treatments you may receive:

  • Blood transfusions;
  • Medicines to prevent early labor;
  • Medicines to help pregnancy continue to at least 36 weeks;
  • Shot of special medicine called Rhogam if your blood type is Rh-negative;
  • Steroid shots to help the baby’s lungs mature.

When it’s time to deliver, you are most likely to need a C-section.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage placenta previa?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with placenta previa:

  • Educate yourself and your family and friends on this disease.
  • Maintain your pregnancy health
  • Seek help when it comes to house work.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

Review Date: December 18, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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