The placenta is a fascinating component of a healthy pregnancy. It’s a sort of connection between you and your baby. It filters out bad particles, lets in nutrients, and helps nourish your baby and provide hormones for your body.
When something goes wrong with the placenta, it’s important to address the problem. For this reason, your physician will be checking it during your ultrasound appointment. If the placenta is located too low in the uterus, close to or covering the cervix, this is known as placenta previa. Here’s what you need to know about this condition:
- In placenta previa, the placenta is blocking your baby’s “exit” out of the womb. If it’s covering the cervix, your baby would have to go through the placenta to get to the birth canal. This may result in serious complications at birth, including life-threatening bleeding.
- The most common symptom of placenta previa is vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. Some women, however, do not experience any bleeding. They may be unaware of any problems until an ultrasound is administered.
- The cause of placenta previa is often unknown. Women over 35 are more likely to experience placenta previa, as well as women who’ve been pregnant before. Having multiples can also raise your risk, but many times the cause cannot be determined.
- Many women who have placenta previa can have a healthy pregnancy and deliver their baby via c-section. If you’re experiencing severe bleeding, however, you may be hospitalized, put on bed rest, and/or given certain medications to stop labor from occurring too early.
- If you’re in the first or second trimester and the placenta is low, it’s possible the problem may fix itself before delivery. Although it doesn’t actually move, the placenta may grow up and away from the cervix, rather than over it. In these cases, your placenta can be checked again when you are closer to your due date. If it’s far enough away from the cervix, you may be able to attempt a vaginal birth safely.
If you do have placenta previa, be sure to follow your ob/gyn’s instructions to keep you and your baby safe and healthy. You may find that your pregnancy is normal and enjoyable, regardless of this issue. Although you may end up having a C-section, it is important to understand that your medical team is doing what’s best for you and your baby.
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Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.