Placenta praevia is a condition which occurs in pregnant women ,when the baby’s placenta instead of attaching itself at the top or the side of the uterus, attaches to the lower area of the uterus thereby covering the mother’s cervix partially or totally and causing severe bleeding before or during the delivery.
The major symptom is bright red vaginal bleeding which ranges from light to heavy with or without contractions in the second half of pregnancy. Bleeding stops on its own without treatment and sometimes, comes back after days or weeks.
Women stand a higher risk of placenta previa for the following reasons -
- History of surgeries involving the uterus like a C-sections, fibroids removal, dilation and curettage
- Already delivered one baby
- History of placenta previa in the previous pregnancy
- Carrying more than one foetus
- Are 35 years old and above
It is usually discovered through a definitive diagnosis of either abdominal ultrasound during a routine prenatal check or a transvaginal ultrasound in case of vaginal bleeding. In exceptional cases, an MRI is also sought to determine placental location.
The treatment is dependent on various factors:
- Amount of bleeding
- Whether or not the bleeding has stopped
- Progress of pregnancy
- Mother’s and baby’s health
- Position of the placenta and the baby
In case of little to no bleeding, the doctor will prescribe bed rest,limited sitting and standing only when necessary, abstinence from sex and exercise.
In case of severe bleeding, bed rest is compulsory while doctors may suggest blood transfusion to replace lost blood, medications to prevent premature labor and a C-section delivery.
In case of bleeding not stopping at all, chances are very high the baby in the fetus will be in distress. Doctors will conduct an emergency C-section to retrieve the baby.