Placenta praevia is a scary diagnosis to get when pregnant, but with the right information, you can manage it. Here’s all you need to know.
What is placenta praevia?
Placenta praevia occurs when the placenta develops low down in the uterus, and stays there into the final trimester. If it stays near the cervix, then this can impede you baby’s exit form the uterus. There are two types of placenta praevia:
- Minor – when the placenta is partly covering your cervix
- Major – when it’s completely covering the cervix
In both cases, your baby will usually need to be born by Caesarean section.
How is it diagnosed?
Placenta praevia will be diagnosed by:
- Seeing the position of the placenta during the 20 week scan.
- Checking the location of the placenta during a transvaginal scan.
- When baby is in breech position, this is an indicator of placenta praevia.
- Vaginal bleeding in the third trimester. Always get any bleeding checked out by your medical team.
What risks are associated with placenta praevia?
Placenta praevia can cause the risk of:
- Sudden bleeding during pregnancy or labour – this can be painless, but there is a risk of going into labour early.
How do I manage placenta praevia?
If diagnosed early, it’s usually a case of waiting and seeing if the placenta moves down. You may be advised to avoid sex and vigorous exercise. Your care team may also recommend a series of scans in your final weeks to monitor the location of the placenta, and to check for any other complications. If you have had bleeding and arranged for an elective Caesarean, you will be brought into the hospital at either 37 or 38 weeks.
Bed rest is a common recommendation during the final weeks of pregnancy. The important thing is to report any bleeding, period-type pains or contractions immediately, especially as you move through your third trimester. These pains can be managed. But if your baby is distressed or the bleeding cannot be easily controlled, you may have to have an emergency Caesarean section.
Can I prevent or treat placenta praevia myself?
You’re at higher risk if you are over the age of 35, have had more than four pregnancies, and have had any surgery on your uterus. Unfortunately you can’t prevent placenta praevia from occurring or treat it yourself, but you can help the overall health of your pregnancy. Firstly, always follow medical advice and report any bleeding or cramping immediately. Get plenty of rest, in bed if possible. Eat a good diet and concentrate on foods rich in iron to prevent anemia should you experience bleeding. Move around and drink plenty of water to prevent blood clots.
maternity & infant
Originally posted 2016-08-17 16:48:57.