What is placenta praevia, how can you spot it and how can it be treated?
You may have heard the phrase placenta praevia and be worried that it's something you have.
Although placenta praevia isn't rare, it can be monitored and dealt with safely during pregnancy, so here’s the lowdown...
This is when the placenta covers, or partly covers, the cervix, which is at the entrance to the womb.
During labour, as the cervix opens, the placenta may start to separate from the wall of the womb.
You’re more at risk if you have more than one child, are having a multiple pregnancy or if you’ve had previous surgery on the womb, including a caesarean.
You usually don’t have any symptoms at all with placenta praevia and it’s diagnosed by scan.
In some cases, you may experience vaginal bleeding. Placenta praevia might also be suspected if your baby’s lying in an unusual position.
You’ll be scanned again around 34 weeks of pregnancy.
If the placenta continues to cover the cervix, a caesarean would be advised, with close care during the remainder of the pregnancy. Any fresh, painless bleeding should be reported immediately and admission to hospital may be required.
Anne Richley, midwife
“My placenta was right over my cervix at 35 weeks. I was advised by the doctor to stay in hospital until my caesarean date four weeks later.
"Then, at 38 weeks, I started to bleed and within 20 minutes I was in the operating theatre. About 10 minutes later Wyatt was born!”
Julia, 36, mum to Wyatt, 6 months
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