You must have heard about the placenta. It’s the structure that develops inside the uterus during pregnancy, responsible for providing oxygen and nutrition to and removing wastes from the developing fetus. Normally, it lies by the side or at the top of the uterus, doing its job diligently.
But, sometimes, a good guy can go rogue, right? Sadly, the placenta wanders away from its normal site of duty and then partially or completely implant itself on the cervix, which is the opening to the vagina. Imagine the irony, the same structure that had been a pillar of support for the baby has now turned to become the chief antagonist to its survival.
This is known as Placenta Previa and can cause severe bleeding before or during the birth process.
How do you suspect PP?
The severe passage of bright red vaginal bleeding during the second trimester of pregnancy raises strong suspicion, although this may be due to other causes.
It may sound weird, but no known cause for this condition has been documented. However, there are some known risk factors viz women who have had at least one previous pregnancy, had a previous cesarean delivery or had a previous placenta Previa.
Pregnant women with multiple gestations and older than 35 years, black, and abuse drugs are even at a greater risk.
This sounds like a big deal right? Oh well, but if caught on time, it can be successfully managed. This is why the advice for pregnant women to not skip their antenatal appointments cannot be overemphasized.
A simple abdominal and transvaginal ultrasound helps in the diagnosis. The treatment is usually dependent on the extent of the pregnancy, the amount of blood lost or being lost, and the overall health of the mother and the fetus.
Delivery of the baby safely and having the mother in perfect health is of utmost importance hence the best decision is to be made. If the bleeding is not much and doesn’t make the woman weak or gets in her way of things, she’s just advised on lifestyle modifications even as she approaches her due date.
However, if the blood is being passed at an alarming rate, then an emergency cesarean delivery is planned.