Placenta Previa: Causes, Risks, and Treatment

The placenta is a pancake-shaped organ in the body of pregnant women. It provides nutrients and oxygen to the fetus and protects the fetus’ temperature while protecting the fetus against internal infections. The baby attaches to it through the umbilical cord, from where it receives the nutrients it needs to develop. The placenta attaches the developing embryo to the wall of the mother’s uterus. When connected to the wall of the uterus, the umbilical cord of the fetus develops from it. Here are some essential placenta functions:

  • It helps in the reproduction of hormones for fetal growth in the uterus
  • It is responsible for removing waste from fetal blood
  • It attaches the fetus to the uterine wall and protects the baby in the correct position

If the pregnancy usually progresses, the placenta is attached to the uterus’s upper right side of the upper left side. As the fetus expands during pregnancy, it moves upwards or sideways. A normal placenta looks like an oval disc with a cord attached to its center. By playing an essential role in developing the baby, a healthy placenta goes a long way to ensuring a safe pregnancy.

What is Placenta Previa?

During pregnancy, if the placenta develops in such a way that it entirely or partially covers the cervix, this condition is called ‘placenta Previa or low placenta. It poses a risk to the baby and mother during labor and delivery Because it can be damaged when the cervix opens. The placenta may soon separate from the uterus resulting in severe bleeding of the mother, affecting the baby. Babies can be born with defects or premature or low birth weight.

FACTS: Placenta previa usually does not cause any pain during pregnancy. However, if there is any discomfort, it is advisable to talk to a doctor about it.

How does Placenta Previa affect pregnancy?

Since the cervix is covered in this condition, the placenta previa moves out of the baby during delivery. The placenta previa thus poses a challenge during labor and delivery. As the cervix dilates, it can cause a rupture of the blood vessels in the pelvic region and in some cases. In these placenta ruptures, the placenta separates from the uterus, endangering both the baby and the mother.

Bleeding from the vagina in Previa

The most severe risk is bleeding from the vagina, which creates placenta previa. This can happen in the third trimester when the uterus lining becomes thinner to prepare for delivery. It can cause bleeding in the placenta covering the cervix.

What does it mean to have an inferior placenta?

A lower placenta is attached to the lower part of the uterus very close to the cervix, where in a normal pregnancy the placenta is in the upper or lateral region of the uterus.In the early stages of pregnancy the placenta is attached to the lower part of the uterus and over time, it moves upwards and settles in the upper half of the uterus. However, when this movement of the placenta does not occur properly even in the third trimester, placenta previa develops.

The placenta previa is classified based on the area that covers the placenta cervix. It can also be further classified based on the location of the placenta in the uterus. The next placenta previa occurs when the placenta is located behind the uterus. In contrast, the anterior placenta previa occurs when the placenta is located in front of the uterus near the navel.q a

Different types of Placenta Previa

The type and severity of the placenta previa condition are determined by the amount of coverage of the uterus’s cervical area by the placenta, which can be partial or complete. The following types of placenta previa are:

Marginal Placenta Previa

In this type of placenta previa, the placenta’s edge is implanted very close to the cervix, but the cervix is not completely covered.

Partial Placenta Previa

Here, part of the open part of the cervix is covered by the placenta. In it, the placenta is located on the right border of the cervix. If the mother has partial placenta previa, there is a chance of vaginal delivery.

Complete Placenta Previa

In this condition, the entire open part of the cervix is covered by the placenta. In this case the mother usually needs a cesarean delivery. Also known as central placenta previa, this location causes the most complications during delivery.

Symptoms of placenta previa

Some various signs and symptoms can predict the possibility of placenta previa. Here are a few to observe!

  • Premature contractions can also occur with bleeding if the fetus is positioned obliquely or backward.
  • The size of the uterus appears to be larger than the gestational age.
  • Convulsions with severe pain.

If any of these symptoms are diagnosed, one must consult a doctor and begin taking preventive measures.

Causes of inferior placenta in pregnant women

Why placenta previa occurs is not yet established, but there seems to be some correlation between the patient having it and past problems or habits. Here are some possible causes of placenta previa:

Age factor: Placenta previa occurs more in women aged 35 years or older.

Pregnancy History / Current Status: Women who have had multiple pregnancies before or who have had multiple pregnancies, such as twins or triplets, are more likely to have this condition than other women.

Surgical history: A woman with a history of uterine surgery may or may not have a rupture and is at higher risk of experiencing placenta previa.

Uterine size: If a woman has an abnormally shaped uterus, she is at risk of having placenta previa.

Smoking/drug use: Some experts believe that women who smoke or are addicted to drugs are also at higher risk.

Maternal accommodation: Some experts believe that women living at higher altitudes are more likely to develop placenta previa.

Past miscarriages/abortions: Women who have had a miscarriage or miscarriage have a higher risk of suffering from placenta previa.

The baby’s position: In addition to the above, the baby’s part is an essential factor that can lead to placenta previa. If the baby’s buttocks are forward (breech) or the womb is horizontal (transverse), the chances of placenta previa are multiplied.

Demographics: The probability of placenta previa also varies according to demographics. For example, Asian women are more likely to have placenta previa.

Dilation and curettage (D&C) surgery: The past record of going through this surgery is also known to cause placenta previa.

Placenta size: A genetically large placenta can also cause this.

Low-grade placenta treatment during pregnancy

Doctors recommend different treatment plans for other patients, depending on the health of the mother and baby. If placenta previa is diagnosed in the early stages of pregnancy, it may resolve on its own.

Treatment protocols are decided based on the amount of bleeding. In case of mild bleeding, the doctor advises prohibiting activity and rest. In some severe bleeding cases, blood changes are proposed as an essential part of the treatment approach. The mother is often given medication to prevent premature labor and premature delivery and help complete a 36-week pregnancy.

Doctors prescribe Rhogam as a particular medicine for patients with Rh-negative blood type. It is given both during and after pregnancy, and it works by blocking the immune system from detecting antigens. It is passed through an intramuscular injection. In most cases, anti-D in pregnant women develops after 28 weeks of gestation, so Rhogam is usually given after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

For better development of the baby’s lungs, doctors sometimes give steroid injections. When heavy bleeding cannot be controlled by doctors, C-section is recommended and performed as a last resort. A doctor may also perform amniocentesis tests to check the fetus’s growth and health for premature delivery.

Medications: There are no specific medications to treat placenta previa. Doctors recommend taking iron supplements, as the mother may suffer from anemia due to blood loss. Some of the medicines and supplements prescribed by the doctor are mentioned below-

Magnesium Sulphate – To delay premature labor.

Corticosteroids – In case of mild bleeding.

Dexamethasone– develops in fetal lungs.

Betamethasone: Helps in the development of fetal lungs.

Terbutaline: Used to relax uterine contractions.

Medical Interventions

Once placenta previa is diagnosed, a variety of medical interventions can be performed to ensure the mother and child’s safety. Some of them are listed below:

Intravenous therapy: Doctors prescribe it if there is a need to replace the blood that comes out during bleeding.

Regular monitoring: Vaginal tests are avoided because they can create hemorrhages that can be life-threatening for both mother and child. An external monitoring device is used to monitor and monitor fetal heart rate and uterine contractions.

Surgery: Doctors perform surgeries only if there is a fear of losing life for the mother and baby. If the placenta covers more than 30% of the cervix’s open part, the fetus cannot pass through it, so doctors perform a C-section.

Reduce the risk

One way to reduce the risk of placenta abruption is to simply have a cesarean section if medically necessary and otherwise wait until labor returns to normal. If you have a C-section, you may still be able to place your next baby vaginally, depending on the type of incision and your overall health.

Leave a Comment