Written by Editorial Team
Know of someone who has had a low-lying placenta during pregnancy that has bled before or during labor? This condition referred to as placenta previa is a matter of concern for the health of the soon-to-born baby and the mother alike. Read on to know more about placenta previa bleeding in pregnancy.
When the placenta attaches over or close to the cervix, that is the opening of the uterus, this condition is placenta previa. During late pregnancy, placenta previa could cause bleeding., however, it is painless. There are three types of placenta previa:
As mentioned previously, placenta previa could cause bleeding in the latter part of the pregnancy, and this is one of its biggest risks. As the baby grows bigger and you progress into the third trimester, the lower uterine wall begins to thin out. This happens in preparation for labor.
During this phase, the area of the placenta that is closer to the lower uterine wall and the uterine OS (cervical opening of the uterus) bleeds. The amount of placenta that covers the cervix determines the amount of bleeding that could take place. Hence, it is in the best interest of the mother that the placenta is away from the cervix to avoid bleeding associated with placenta previa.
Placenta previa comes with its set of risks and complications. Apart from bleeding during the second and third trimester, placenta previa could lead to the following:
Placenta previa generally occurs in late pregnancy, that is, after the 20th week of pregnancy. The exact causes of placenta previa cannot be ascertained, but the condition can be attributed to the following reasons:
Placenta previa does not directly lead to placental abruption. Direct trauma to the uterus, such as a bad fall, a motor vehicle accident, and the like could lead to placental abruption. However, one or more of the following factors can trigger placental abruption:
If you spot vaginal bleeding during and after the second trimester, you must visit your gynecologist to ascertain the true causes of the bleed. The doctor diagnoses placenta previa after a thorough physical examination and transabdominal ultrasound test. The ultrasound can find the location of the placenta in relation to the cervix.
If the results are inconclusive, a transvaginal ultrasound can be performed to confirm the amount of the placenta that is covering the cervix. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also determine the location of the placenta.
It is important to note that the ultrasound can detect a low-lying placenta early in your pregnancy. However, it could move away from the cervix with upwards movements, as you progress through your pregnancy. This process is placental migration.
While it is important to determine the location of the placenta in relation to the cervix, it is noteworthy to mention that the position of the placenta cannot be changed or altered. Hence, placenta previa needs treatment with utmost care to ensure proper growth and delivery of the baby. Your doctor might advise bed rest or hospitalization. Your doctor will treat your condition with the necessary medications, depending on your tolerance for medications, and other therapies
Since most placenta previa patients need a cesarean section, your doctor will take a call on when to perform the surgery. The doctor will consider the gestational age of the baby, their condition, and the amount of bleeding. In severe cases, where blood loss has been significant, the doctor will go ahead with blood transfusion.
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