What does it mean to have placenta previa?

What is placenta previa? Is it an illness?

Nothing could be more normal than talking about the placenta during pregnancy: it is the essential motor organ for mother-fetus exchange during pregnancy. But sometimes, in a small percentage of pregnant women, around 1 in 200 (source 1), it happens that this placenta has a slightly more complex feature, this is the case of the placenta called “previa”. that placenta previa is a placenta that accepts growth and abnormal positioningtoo close to the opening of the cervix,” explains Dr. Cyril Huissoud, obstetrician-gynecologist and head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Hospital for Women and Children in Lyon.

Lateral or covering

Also, “prævia” comes from it and in Latin means “near the track“. “This type of placenta sometimes positions itself too close to the collar (marginal placenta previa) or even on the cervix (central placenta previa), which prevents any vaginal exit of the child and causes complications.

The case of placenta accreta introduced into a scar

Sometimes the placenta is inserted into a scar directly into the uterine muscle. This is called placenta accreta, a complication that can increase the risk of bleeding.

What are the risks of the placenta being too low?

bleeding, bleeding during childbirth

The main risk of placenta previa is based in particular on more or less heavy bleeding during labor, delivery, sometimes even earlier. “Under the effects of labor, a mother with placenta previa begins to bleed. Sometimes this bleeding also occurs during pregnancy,” explains the gynaecologist.

A premature birth

In and of itself, it’s not the placenta that causes preterm labor, but the bleeding, which when it occurs leaves doctors no real choice. “Bleeding during labor is expected when the problem is identified. But sometimes Bleeding occurs during pregnancy which can endanger mother and child. We try to wait as long as possible, but in this case we don’t always have a choice. An early and premature caesarean section can be considered,” confirms the doctor. This also applies if placenta previa causes a termination.

What can cause placenta previa: risk factors

There is currently no real reason to develop placenta previa. But there are a few risk factors:

  • That mother’s background : especially if she already had placenta previa.
  • A scarred uterus for example after a cesarean section.
  • A uterine malformation
  • Maybe take a little more risk smoking mothers.

“What we fear is primarily a placenta that is on an old caesarean scar, because the scar can be quite large,” specifies the doctor.

Marginal or overlapping placenta, when can it be diagnosed? Is it visible on ultrasound?

If it’s a bit low, then it’s not possible to decide about delivery from the second trimester: “In fact, there’s always hope that this placenta will come up thanks to that.” growth of the uterus until the end of the pregnancy. On the other hand, if it is already on the cervix and covers it, it is likely to stay there until the end,” explains the obstetrician.

If in doubt, too low a placenta in the 3rd trimester, an ultrasound through endovaginal probeinserted more accurately and directly into the vagina.

If there is any doubt about a possible diagnosis of placenta accreta, investigations are carried out as soon as possible and the patient can be referred to an expert center for placenta accreta.

Placenta previa, either “too close to the way,” can prevent the baby from coming out vaginally

Unfortunately, if you discover that your placenta is placenta previa, there’s not much you can do… except wait and rest. If the placenta is a little too low and doesn’t cover the cervix, chances are it will form on its own during pregnancy. pushed through the uterus. If it’s an overlapping placenta, it remains unlikely. The only thing you have to do is take care of yourself and rest to avoid premature bleeding.

Is a cesarean section (planned or not) inevitable?

There is no treatment against placenta previa, but in many cases a foreseeable gesture: Caesarean section. “The closer the placenta is to the cervix, the more people think about using a cesarean section. This is often the case less than 2 cm from the cervix,” reveals the doctor, who explains that he should still discuss it with the mother-to-be.

  • If the placenta is more than 2 cm from the cervix, the case can be discussed.
  • Within 2cmit depends on the mother’s history and, most importantly, whether she has bled before.
  • When the bleeding starts and the blood loss is too great, a cesarean section is inevitable.
  • If there is a releaseA caesarean section is also planned.
  • If the placenta is covered growth (inserted in a scar) C-section is also inevitable and a midline caesarean section Special is sometimes considered.

Whatever the case, every effort is made to identify the problem before the birth and to plan this cesarean section to ensure maximum safety for the baby and the mother.

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