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Placenta previa and how it affects the delivery process


Expectant Newton parents are simultaneously excited and worried about the upcoming birth of a child. While in the back of their minds, most parents will account for the possibility that there might be something wrong with the newborn at birth, it is generally believed that medical professionals will be able to catch most issues and deal with them. That, unfortunately, is not always the case. One possible problem is called placenta previa.

If the placenta covers the opening in the mother's cervix either partially or completely, it is known as placenta previa. If placenta previa occurs, it can result in severe bleeding prior to or while the delivery is in process. The placenta is important because it gives nutrients and oxygen to the baby. It also removes waste products that accumulate in the baby's blood. In the majority of pregnancies, the placenta will be attached to the top or side of the woman's uterus. With placenta previa, the placenta will instead attach itself to the lower portion of the uterus.

If doctors correctly diagnose placenta previa, it can be managed. Women who have it will not be allowed to physically exert themselves and it is likely that they will require a cesarean section during the delivery process for the safety of both mother and newborn. In order to be on the lookout for placenta previa, doctors must know the risk factors. These include women who have had a previous c-section, surgery for fibroid removal and dilation and curettage. Women who have had previous pregnancies, had placenta previa, are carrying twins or multiple fetuses, are age 35 and above, smokers, users of cocaine and non-Caucasian are also at risk.

While placenta previa can be managed, there are instances in which the medical professionals either do not diagnose the issue or are unaware of what to do about it. If there is placenta previa, the baby might end up being born prematurely. With a premature birth, there are numerous problems that can arise from the mild to the severe in which long-term care and its accompanying costs will be evident. Those who believe they have suffered from placenta previa and the doctors did nothing about it need to consider the potential for a birth injury case.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Placenta Previa," accessed Sept. 15, 2015

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