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What You Should Know about Placenta Previa

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When you are expecting a baby, you probably want to do everything you can to stay healthy and provide your new bundle of joy with the best possible start to life. This all begins with you taking proper care of yourself since you are the vessel through which your baby comes into this world. Understanding the risk factors of placenta previa becomes important, then, especially when you are already considered to be a high-risk pregnancy. Talk to your doctor for more specific and personalized information, but in the meantime, here is what you should know:

1. What It Is

Placenta previa is a rather serious health condition that affects some pregnant women. It occurs when the placenta actually blocks off the opening of the cervix, making it impossible for the baby to be delivered vaginally. In an average pregnancy, the placenta is attached at the top of the uterus, and it gives nutrients and oxygen to the unborn child. Your baby needs that nutrient-rich placenta in order to survive and thrive, so it cannot be removed under any circumstances. This unfortunate medical condition must be tolerated or managed in a different and extremely delicate way. If it is mismanaged, you could suffer from severe blood loss or worse.

2. Why It Happens

There are a lot of reasons why certain women might develop placenta previa, though doctors are still unable to pinpoint the exact cause. If the condition is present during labor or delivery, then there could be some serious complications, which is why it is vital for you to understand what causes it.

The most common risk factors include:

 

  • Surgery on uterus or on an area that may have affected uterine function
  • Previous Cesarean section
  • Previous case of placenta previa
  • Smoking or cocaine use during pregnancy
  • Older than 35 years of age
  • Have had five or more children

Speaking with your OB-GYN will give you a better idea as to what your unique risk factors might be. Keep in mind that the lack of risk factors does not clear you from developing placenta previa. Science is still nailing down exactly what causes it.

3. What the Symptoms Are

You’ll need to know what to look for, since your doctor cannot always be there to hold your hand. Placenta previa is serious, so keep your eyes peeled for the following symptoms:

 

  • Bright red, painless, and sudden bleeding from the vagina
  • Regular or irregular contractions
  • Aches and pains in the lower abdomen and back
  • Signs of early labor

Contact your OB-GYN immediately if you see any signs similar to what is mentioned here.


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