Placenta has a vital role in pregnancy that is responsible for transport of blood, oxygen and food supply to the baby through the umbilical cord. A low lying placenta is a condition of placenta previa wherein your placenta is on abnormally lower side of the uterus. Women who are pregnant under 20 weeks generally have a low lying placenta but once it cross 28 weeks, the placenta turns upward.
If a woman has condition of low-lying placenta in the final weeks of pregnancy, it can pose as a threat to pregnancy, causing severe bleeding prior or during labor.
Commons signs during placenta previa
- Severe cramps or sharp pains
- Prolonged bleeding in short intervals
- Bleeding in the second or third trimester of pregnancy
Risk factors leading to placenta previa
- Baby in breech position
- History of previous uterine such as dilation and curettage (D&C), cesarean delivery and uterine fibroid surgery
- Twin or multiple pregnancies
- History of miscarriage
- Large placenta
- Abnormally shaped uterus
- Prior diagnosis of placenta previa
- Women older than 35 years of age
Diagnosis of Low-lying Placenta:
A low-lying Placenta can be diagnosed in the following ways:
Transvaginal ultrasound: Your doctor will insert a probe into your vagina to obtain complete view of your cervix and birth canal. It is the most effective method to determine placenta previa.
Transabdominal ultrasound: Your doctor applies gel on your abdominal area and uses a transducer over your abdomen to examine your pelvic organs.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): This involves an imaging scan to confirm placenta’s position.
Complications caused by placenta previa:
When a woman experiences labor, the cervix expands so that the baby can move towards the birth canal. If the placenta is located on the front of the cervix, it will separate itself as the cervix opens, resulting in internal bleeding. In this case, an emergency c-section may be done to avoid risk to woman’s life.
Management of Placenta Previa:
In case of no bleeding observed, you would be advised to stay at home and avoid having intercourse until delivery. If there is bleeding, you would be asked to visit the hospital until you give birth to your baby. A planned cesarean is done in between 37th and 38th week of pregnancy. However, in case of heavy bleeding, cesarean may be done sooner.
Placenta previa is a complicated obstetric condition, which should be diagnosed well in time as it can pose as a threat to mother during childbirth. Patient should get her ultrasound evaluated for placental localization. If it is comes out be low-lying placenta in early pregnancy, she should get her followed-up after 28 weeks of pregnancy. In case of low-lying placenta, patient should be extra cautious during her pregnancy, watch for bleeding and be prepared for a cesarean section too.
Low-lying placenta is a common cause behind miscarriage, which needs to evaluated and treated in time. If you have a low-lying placenta, you should visit best gynecology clinic and maintain frequent follow-ups. Also, get regular antenatal scans to track your placenta location and determine your fetal’s well-being.