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What Happens If Your Placenta Is Low During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, the body goes through a host of changes. The uterus expands in order to accommodate the growing baby. Now, within the uterus, the placenta develops. Its main purpose is to provide food and oxygen to the growing baby and remove the toxic waste from his or her body. Once the child is delivered, the placenta makes its way out of the body.

Now, having understood the role and lifetime of the placenta, it is important to realize that the position of the placenta is often seen to be low in the initial days of pregnancy and that is not a cause of concern.

low lying placenta treatment

However, if the same continues to be low even in the later stages, that is when we should be alarmed. This condition is medically known as placenta praevia. In this article, we will discuss the risk factors associated with this pregnancy-related condition and tell you all that you need to know about the same.

1. Causes For Placenta Praevia
· Previous surgical history
· Baby's position
· Anatomy and lifestyle
2. What Happens If You Have Placenta Praevia?
· Minimal bleeding
· Heavy bleeding
· Uncontrolled bleeding
3. Complications Of A Low-lying Placenta
· Placenta accrete
· Vasa praevia

Causes For Placenta Praevia

Medically, it is very difficult for an individual to pinpoint one reason for this condition. The following are some of the possible causes of this condition:

· Previous surgical history

Women who have been subjected to dilation and curettage (D&C) or surgical removal of uterine fibroids may suffer from this. This condition is rarely observed in some women in their first pregnancy.

Those who have delivered one or more babies in the past by caesarean delivery suffer from this more often than their counterparts. Other than this, the previous diagnosis of placenta praevia or a miscarriage may also be a cause for this condition.

· Baby's position

If the baby is in the breech position with the buttocks being placed first, then there are higher chances of placenta praevia. It has been observed that in the case of women who are carrying their baby in a horizontal position across the womb, the chances of having placenta praevia in the advanced stages of pregnancy are pretty high.

· Anatomy and lifestyle

The risk for this condition is higher among women who conceive after they are 35. Women who are into habits like drinking and smoking are often seen to develop this condition. Other than that, speaking from an anatomical point of view, having an abnormally shaped uterus or a large placenta also increases your chances of the same.

What Happens If You Have Placenta Praevia?

The different types of placenta praevia are diagnosed by the amount of bleeding that the mother has to go through. Based on that, the gynaecologist suggests an appropriate course of action.

· Minimal bleeding

This condition can be dealt with and a safe delivery can be ensured. The most common thing that doctors do in this state is to advise the pregnant women to rest as much as possible. These women need to keep away from any form of exercise or sexual activity to the extent that they should stand up only when it is absolutely necessary to do so.

In fact, in this case, it is often seen that with a little bit of birth operation on the part of the team catering to her, it is possible for the pregnant woman to have a vaginal birth as well.

· Heavy bleeding

In this case, doctors usually ask for the hospital bed rest with a C-section for the delivery. Since there is a high risk of premature birth, corticosteroid injections may be needed to be given to the mother in order to speed up the little one's lung growth.

Doctors may anticipate high blood loss during the process of childbirth and thereby be prepared for a blood transfusion if the need does arise.

· Uncontrolled bleeding

This is the extreme case and doctors here are not left with much of an option other than for going for an emergency caesarean delivery. Needless to say, in this case, the chances of the baby surviving are pretty bleak.

Complications Of A Low-lying Placenta

There are chances of some other complications if the placenta is lying low.

· Placenta accrete

This is one condition when the placenta is not just bigger but it is embedded so deep in the walls of the womb that it refuses to come off even after delivery. This condition can be diagnosed by the eighth month of pregnancy and with appropriate planning, it is possible to deal with the excessive bleeding that may happen during delivery.

· Vasa praevia

In this case what happens is that the blood vessels that come out of the umbilical cord run straight through the membranes that cover the cervix. Since the protective layer of the placenta or the umbilical cord is missing from these, they are subjected to a good amount of wear and tear.

Although this condition is pretty rare (particularly in women from the Indian subcontinent), the fact is that with proper awareness on the part of the pregnant woman and preparation on the part of the medical team that is supposed to deliver the baby, this condition can be dealt with pretty effectively and a healthy childbirth can be ensured.

This condition is usually diagnosed by transabdominal ultrasound that can happen anywhere from the onset of the second trimester of pregnancy.

Thus, while talking of the placenta being low during pregnancy, it is important to realize that there is no reason for you to freak out about the same in the first few months. Most of the cases wherein this condition is noted in the first trimester go on to become healthy pregnancies later on.

Even if the placenta is noticed to be low in the last trimester, with appropriate precautionary measures on the part of the pregnant woman and the team catering to her, it is possible to have a safe and healthy baby.

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