The placenta is an organ that develops during pregnancy, providing oxygen, nutrients, and waste exchange between the mother and foetus. Placenta previa is a condition that occurs during pregnancy when the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix, which is the opening to the uterus. In placenta previa, the placenta implants low in the uterus, leading to its positioning over or near the cervix. As a result, a normal vaginal delivery becomes extremely painful and risky for both the mother and the baby. Know more about this condition to get timely treatment.
Causes of Placenta Previa
There are several causes which can contribute to placenta previa.
- Prior uterine surgeries. Women who have undergone previous caesarean sections, uterine surgeries, or other procedures that have scarred the uterine lining are at a higher risk of developing placenta previa.
- Multiparity. Women with multiple pregnancies, especially those with a history of previous placenta previa, are at an increased risk.
- Previous placenta previa. Women who have had placenta previa in previous pregnancies are more likely to have it again in subsequent pregnancies.
- Advanced maternal age. Older women, typically over 35, have a higher risk of experiencing placenta previa.
- Smoking. Smoking during pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of placenta previa.
- Assisted reproductive techniques. Assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilisation, have been linked to a higher incidence of placenta previa.
Symptoms of Placenta Previa
Placenta previa is often asymptomatic in its early ages. However, as the condition progresses, some common symptoms may arise, which are listed below.
- Bright red bleeding. The vaginal bleeding associated with placenta previa is typically bright in colour. However, the amount of bleeding does not always indicate the severity of the condition.
- Bleeding during the second or third trimester. Placenta previa-related bleeding often occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy, but it can happen earlier in some cases.
- Painless bleeding. Unlike other causes of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, placenta previa bleeding is usually painless. Patients suffering from this condition typically do not experience contractions, abdominal pain, or bleeding.
- Treatment of Placenta Previa
- The treatment of placenta previa depends on various factors, including the type and severity of the condition. Here are some common ways of treating this condition.
- Close monitoring. Women with placenta previa frequent prenatal check-ups and ultrasound examinations to monitor the position of the placenta, the amount of bleeding, and the growth and development of the foetus.
- Bed rest. Depending on the severity of the condition, the patient may be advised to limit physical activity and be placed on bed rest to reduce the risk of bleeding and complications.
- Hospitalisation. Hospitalisation may be necessary in cases of severe bleeding or if the condition poses significant risks. This helps in close monitoring and immediate medical intervention if needed.
- Blood transfusion. In cases of heavy bleeding, a blood transfusion may be required to replace the lost blood and maintain the patient’s blood volume and oxygen-carrying capacity.
- Medications. Medications may sometimes be prescribed to help control bleeding or prevent preterm labour. These may include medications to promote uterine relaxation and delay labour or medications to stimulate the production of blood-clotting factors.
- Delivery. The timing and mode of delivery depend on various factors, including the severity of placenta previa and the presence of complications. A planned caesarean is primarily performed to reduce the risk of bleeding during labour.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Gynecology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options of cervical dysplasia is crucial for early detection and effective management. This condition typically arises from HPV and can progress to cervical cancer if left untreated
Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix during pregnancy. Early detection and proper management are essential to minimise bleeding risks and complications. Visit a doctor immediately if any of the symptoms are seen.
FAQ’s about Placenta Previca
Q. What causes placenta previa?
A. The exact cause of placenta previa is unknown. However, certain factors, such as prior uterine surgeries, advanced maternal age, multiple pregnancies, and previous placenta previa, increase the risk.
Q. What are the symptoms of placenta previa?
A. The primary symptom of placenta previa is painless vaginal bleeding, typically bright red, occurring after the 20th week of pregnancy. Other symptoms may include bleeding during the second or third trimester and lack of accompanying contractions or abdominal pain.
Q. How is placenta previa treated?
A. Treatment may involve close monitoring, activity restriction, hospitalisation, blood transfusion, medications to control bleeding or prevent preterm labour, and planned caesarean delivery.
Q. What are the potential complications of placenta previa?
A. Placenta previa can lead to complications such as heavy bleeding, preterm birth, foetal growth restriction, and placental abruption.
Q. Is placenta previa common?
A. Placenta previa is relatively uncommon. However, it is a serious condition that requires proper diagnosis, monitoring, and effective management.