We have all heard of a placenta but many have never heard about the condition PLACENTA PREVIA. It may sound like a horrible breakfast cereal but to those pregnancies which it affects its an awful reality.
It occurs when a baby's placenta partially or totally covers the mother's cervix — the outlet for the uterus. Placenta previa can cause severe bleeding during pregnancy and delivery. If you have placenta previa, you might bleed throughout your pregnancy and during your delivery. With it afffecting approximately 0.5% of pregnancies, it is the most common cause of bleeding in the third trimester.
So you may ask why is this a problem in a pregnancy? Well as the cervix thins and dialates- (getting ready for labour) and the placenta is attached the blood vessels tear and result in bleeding. The lower uterus is less able to contract and restrict (stop) the bleeding in this area resulting in uncontrolled bleeding.
The advanced age of a mother, a smoker or multiple babies are the main risk factors for this to occur. But also a woman who has had multiple pregnancies, a previous previa, previous uterine or cervical surgery or a cocaine user.
With Placenta Previa there are three catergories: marginal, partial or complete. Most diagnosed in the second trimester resolve themselves especially if they are not major. (84% complete and 98% of marginal will have resolved by 28 weeks).
Most woman diagnosed with this will endure an ultrasound with some getting put on bed rest ,for extreme cases, or Pelvic Rest (NO hanky panky). The biggest risk comes from the onset of labour. Many with moderate to severe previa will have to undergo a routine cesarean also if there is blood loss, foetal distress or evidence for preterm labour.
So Placenta Previa is no walk in the park and there is no direct correlation between anything in particular-some pregnancies it just happens even if you didn't have it previously.