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  • Complicated Momma

What They DIDN'T Tell Me About Placenta Previa

About 4 months into my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with Placenta Previa. Before that appointment I had never heard of Placenta Previa.

It is a condition in which the placenta partially or in my case, completely covers the cervix. While there is a lot of information out there about Placenta Previa, there are a few things that are not commonly discussed or may be overlooked.

I was told that it was likely my placenta would move by the time I was to give birth. I was also told by my doctors that I MIGHT experience some spotting. SOME SPOTTING. Some spotting was far from what happened to me.

Here is my horror story. In my 5th month, I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Nothing out of the ordinary since I was at the point where I was waking up several times a night to pee. It was about 3am and I was half asleep, not wanting to fully wake up I didn’t turn the light on. I sat down and felt a gush and then felt something fall out of me. In a panic I stood up to turn the light on and saw the toilet was full of blood. Not just a little, but blood everywhere. I couldn’t believe my eyes. My first instinct was to reach into the toilet to see what had fallen out of me. It was horrifying to be sifting through a bloody toilet not knowing if I was about to pull my dead baby out. Horrible to say in that way, I know. But that’s what I was preparing myself for. I pulled a blood-filled sac the size of my palm out. Was it the baby? But it couldn’t have been. I was 5 months along. I screamed in horror. My husband came rushing in. I’ll never forget the look on his face. I just kept asking him what was happening??? Why was this happening??? 7 years of trying. Countless fertility treatments and 4 rounds of IVF. It couldn’t be ending like this. He whisked me up and rushed me to the hospital. It was the longest 10-minute ride of my life. My husband was my rock convincing me to not worry until there was a reason to. They rushed me up to labor and delivery and I was examined. What fell out of me was a massive clot from the bleed. We then heard the heartbeat. And there on there on ultrasound screen, our beautiful baby took her thumb out of her mouth and gave us a thumbs up, then put her thumb back in. Yup, she gave us a thumbs up! I cried tears of joy. The entire room erupted at the site of this awesome kid giving us a thumbs up as if to say, Mom and Dad stop freaking out…I’m OK. It was an amazing moment.

I wish someone, my doctors included, would have told me a bleed on that level was a possibility. I found out the hard way, in horrifying fashion.

If you are diagnosed with Placenta Previa, here are a few important pieces of information to keep in mind:

1. Diagnosis and monitoring: Placenta previa is typically diagnosed through ultrasound imaging during routine prenatal care. However, the position of the placenta can change as the pregnancy progresses, so regular monitoring is crucial. In some cases, a low-lying placenta detected earlier in pregnancy may resolve on its own as the uterus expands.

2. Bleeding episodes: Placenta previa increases the risk of vaginal bleeding, especially during the third trimester. This bleeding can be sudden and severe, requiring immediate medical attention. It is important to be aware of the signs of bleeding, such as bright red blood from the vagina, and to seek medical help promptly if any bleeding occurs.

3. Activity restrictions: If you have been diagnosed with placenta previa, your healthcare provider may advise you to limit your physical activity. This is because strenuous activities, including heavy lifting, vigorous exercise, or sexual intercourse, can trigger bleeding episodes.

4. Delivery options: Placenta previa often influences the mode of delivery. If the placenta covers the cervix entirely or partially, a vaginal delivery may not be possible due to the risk of severe bleeding. In such cases, a cesarean section (C-section) is usually recommended. The timing of the C-section will depend on various factors, such as the severity of the condition, gestational age, and the presence or absence of bleeding.

5. Preterm birth: Placenta previa increases the risk of preterm birth. In some cases, if bleeding becomes severe or life-threatening, an emergency C-section may be necessary even if the baby is premature. Preterm birth carries its own set of challenges and potential complications, so it's essential to discuss this possibility with your healthcare provider and be prepared for the potential need for neonatal intensive care.

6. Postpartum hemorrhage: Placenta previa can also increase the risk of postpartum hemorrhage (excessive bleeding after delivery). You should be closely monitored during and after delivery to address any potential complications promptly. Medications, such as oxytocin, may be administered to help your uterus contract and reduce the risk of excessive bleeding.

Remember, every case of placenta previa is unique, and the details and management plan will vary depending on the individual situation. It's important to have regular prenatal care and maintain open communication with your doctor to ensure the best possible outcomes for both you and your baby.

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