placenta

Are you experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding before or during labor? It could be that you have placenta previa. This condition is a pregnancy complication that occurs when the position of the placenta is in the lower part of the uterus. This results in part or all of the cervix being closed, making it challenging to prepare for birth.

Previously, you must be familiar with the term placenta. The placenta, also known as the baby’s placenta, is the lining of the organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy. The placenta is in direct contact with the mother’s umbilical cord. This organ provides oxygen and nutrients for the fetus in the womb and removes waste from the fetus.

In general, the placenta is in the lower part of the uterus at the beginning of pregnancy. However, as the gestational age increases and the uterus develops, the placenta moves upward. In the case of placenta previa, the position of the placenta does not move from under the uterus which means it is close to the time of delivery.

The placenta that blocks the birth canal is at risk of causing heavy bleeding before or during the delivery process. Therefore, pregnant women who experience this condition will usually be advised to give birth by Cesarean.

Symptoms of Placenta Previa

In general, the placenta previa is bleeding from the vagina that occurs at the end of the second or early third trimester of pregnancy. Bleeding can be light or heavy and will usually recur within a few days. In addition, several other symptoms could cause placenta previa that you need to know.

  • Cramps or severe pain in the womb
  • The bleeding appears, which then stops but can come back a few days after
  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Bleeding during the second trimester of pregnancy

If you find the above symptoms, it’s a good idea to do an ultrasound examination with the doctor immediately. If the symptoms of this condition are detected early, they can be treated immediately not to harm the fetus in the womb. So if you find spots or bleeding during pregnancy, it’s a good idea to go to the doctor to make sure immediately.

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Causes and Risk Factors of Placenta Previa

 The appearance of the characteristics of placenta previa is not known for sure what causes it. However, several factors can increase the risk of pregnant women experiencing this condition, such as:

  • Pregnant at the age of 35 years and over
  • Smoking while pregnant and taking cocaine
  • Having an abnormal shape of the uterus
  • Occurs in the second and subsequent pregnancies
  • History of placenta previa in previous pregnancies
  • The fetus is in an abnormal position, such as breech or transverse
  • Pregnant with twins
  • Have a history of miscarriage
  • Have had surgery on the uterus such as curettage, myoma removal or Caesarean section

Diagnosis of Placenta Previa

Pregnant women who experience bleeding in the second or third trimester usually conduct an examination first. This is to determine whether you have placenta previa or not. Here are some ways to diagnose this condition.

1. Transvaginal Ultrasound

This diagnosis is made by inserting a special tool into the vagina. This is done to see the condition of the vagina and uterus. This method is the most powerful way to determine the location of the placenta.

2. Pelvic Ultrasound

In addition to transvaginal ultrasound, the way to detect abnormalities in the position of the placenta is to perform a pelvic ultrasound. The trick is to attach a special tool to the abdominal wall that is useful for seeing conditions in the uterus.

3. MRI

One more way to diagnose whether a pregnant woman has an abnormal condition in the position of the placenta is to do an MRI or magnetic resonance imaging. This procedure is usually used to help doctors see clearly the position of the placenta.

If during the examination the doctor finds that the pregnant woman has this condition, the doctor will monitor the position of the placenta with ultrasound periodically. During this observation period, the doctor will suggest a sleeping position for placenta previa with a lying down position. This method is quite helpful to return the placenta to its proper position.

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Treatment for Placenta Previa

Treatment for this condition of the placenta under the uterus depends on the level and type of abnormality you have. You have to know, there are various types of abnormal placental positions, such as partial, low lying, marginal and total or major. Each of these types has different conditions, for example, marginal placenta previa is the position of the placenta at the bottom or end of the uterus.

Not only that, the treatment for this condition also depends on the health conditions of the mother and fetus, gestational age, position of the placenta and the severity of bleeding. For mild bleeding conditions, doctors will usually suggest doing self-care at home, such as:

  • Lie down a lot
  • Avoid sports
  • Avoiding sex for a while as one of the prohibitions for pregnant women with placenta previa

As for pregnant women who experience heavy and repeated bleeding, the doctor will recommend that the baby be delivered as soon as possible by Cesarean section. However, if the gestational age is less than 36 weeks, the pregnant woman will be given an injection of corticosteroid medication to accelerate the maturation of the fetal lungs. If necessary, pregnant women will receive blood transfusions.

Of all these types, the condition of placenta previa totalis is the most important condition to watch out for. Besides being able to make it difficult for the mother to give birth normally, this condition can also endanger the lives of the mother and baby, especially if the bleeding occurs quite a lot for a long time. If this happens, the doctor will usually immediately perform a Caesarean section.

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Complications of Placenta Previa

If not treated promptly, the danger of placenta previa can cause various complications. These complications can occur in pregnant women and fetuses in the womb. Some of the risks of complications in pregnant women include:

  • Shock due to heavy bleeding during labor
  • Blood clots due to lying too long during the hospitalization process

While the risk of complications to the fetus includes:

  • Premature birth
  • Fetal asphyxia is due to the fetus not getting enough oxygen while in the womb

Pregnant women are strongly advised to regularly check the condition of the womb. In addition to monitoring the growth and development of the fetus, this is important to determine whether there is a problem with the position of the placenta or not. If abnormal conditions are found, the doctor can take further action.

Those are some things about placenta previa that you should know. The condition of the placenta under the uterus can cause heavy bleeding and make the normal delivery process very risky. Therefore, make sure you carry out routine obstetrical examinations to treat abnormal conditions in the placenta.