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Placenta Praevia

Home >> Gynaecology >> Placenta Praevia

Clinical Directorate

Overview

Placenta Praevia is a condition in which the placenta grows in the lowest part of the womb (uterus) and obstructs its opening to the cervix. This problem occurs during pregnancy and is very common. Generally,it lies in the lowest part of the womb but as the pregnancy continues, the placenta moves to the top of the womb. If it doesn't change its position, the condition is known as placenta praevia. The biggest threat in placenta praevia is sudden bleeding that can be life threatening to the mother and baby. There are 3 types of placenta praevia; Marginal, Partial and Complete.

There are three types of placenta praevia:

  • Marginal – The placenta is next to cervix but doesn't cover the opening.
  • Partial – The placenta covers part of the cervical opening.
  • Complete – The placenta covers all of the opening to cervix.

Signs & Symptoms

The foremost symptom of placenta praevia is sudden bleeding from the vagina during pregnancy. However, some women may experience cramps too. Bleeding often starts near the end of the second trimester or beginning of the third trimester. Your health care provider may diagnose this condition using a pregnancy ultrasound.

Causes

According to a study, placenta praevia occurs in 1 out of 200 pregnancies. This condition is common in women with:

  • Abnormally shaped uterus
  • Many previous pregnancies
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Scarring on the lining of the uterus, due to history of surgery, C-section, previous pregnancy, or abortion

Treatment

The treatment of placenta praevia actually depends on the type of placenta praevia and the pregnancy stage. It is also true that almost all women with placenta praevia partial or complete need a C-section.

  • If the placenta is covering a part of the cervix, your doctor may suggest limiting your activities, bed rest, and pelvic rest
  • Blood transfusions
  • Medicines to prevent early labor
  • Medicines till pregnancy continuation to at least 36 weeks
  • Steroid shots to help the baby's lungs mature