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The Dangers of Placenta Previa

A Bit of Background

Before I get into the reason why you need to know about this, I should probably give you a background to what inspired me to write this short article.

I found out that I was pregnant in July of 2017. I went to all my scheduled check-ups and was able to see my baby through ultrasounds at three of these check-ups. Everything was going well until one night, 25 weeks into my pregnancy, I felt uncomfortable, as if something was pushing on my bladder. Suddenly, a huge gush of blood came out. It was like my water broke (this was my first pregnancy so I don’t actually know the feeling of water breaking), except that there was a lot of blood.

At the hospital I was told I needed an emergency c-section to deliver my baby right then and there if there was any chance of him surviving. He was so small, such a beautiful and cute baby. (This is of course coming from Mama’s perspective). He spent two days in the NICU before my husband and I were told that it was probably better to unhook the machines and to let him go naturally.

We had to say goodbye to our one and only baby boy.

The Importance of the Placenta

This is where I would like to make every pregnant woman aware of their placenta.

We all know that the placenta is essential to giving our babies all the oxygen and nutrients they need. It also plays an important role in removing waste products that could eventually be harmful. Normally it attaches to the top or side walls of the uterus. As I was in the hospital, wondering why there was a gush a blood, and why I had to deliver so early in my pregnancy, the doctor came to explain to me what he saw during the c-section.

He said that the placenta was bleeding, and that it was low-lying. He didn’t know what caused the placenta to be there or what caused it to bleed. My regular obstetrician never told me where my placenta was.

Placenta Previa

A low-lying placenta, otherwise known as placenta previa, can be potentially dangerous. It can cause the placenta to separate from the uterine wall, bleeding, a premature baby, and if it is covering (fully or partially) the cervix it poses a problem during delivery.

Usually the simple fix for this is to do things that will allow the placenta to slowly move up and away from the cervix. This includes things like bed rest, avoiding sex or exercise, and avoiding straining when constipated. Whether or not it was the half days on my feet at work that I was still doing, or the intercourse we had the two nights before, or the constipation I had the night I went to the hospital, I will never know exactly what caused my placenta to bleed and all the events after. All I can say is that I would have liked to have known that I had a low-lying placenta. I would have liked the chance to prevent the bleeding with simple bed rest.

You Need to Be Aware of Your Placenta

I am not going to blame my obstetrician because sometimes the placenta is not easily visible through a regular ultrasound. But, I wish I had known about placental problems, so I could have probed more during my regular check-ups. Usually your obstetrician should first be able to see the placenta 18-20 weeks in.

Now I have to live with the unknowns, and the loss of my little angel for the rest of my life. I have had to say goodbye not only to him but for the future and hopes that I had with him. Every day there are reminders; babies being held by their parents, babies in diaper commercials, foods that should or shouldn’t be eaten when pregnant, people who congratulated me once they noticed I was getting bigger, the scar on my stomach, the littlest things can set me off and there hasn’t gone a day when I haven’t cried. I will never be the same person again. I do not want anybody to feel the way I do: a deep sadness that you could never imagine. This is why I felt the need to write this article and make everyone who is pregnant aware. It may be more of a concern for those who are over 35 years old, but no matter the age, it doesn’t hurt to know: Where is your placenta?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Kiyomi Motomura


Kiyomi Motomura (author) from Japan on September 24, 2018:

Hi there, I know how uncomfortable constipation feels, but I also believe that straining on the toilet could have contributed to what happened to me. It is true that pregnant women are limited in the medications they can try, however, since I am not a doctor I would recommend you discuss all your symptoms with your doctor. I can only say that drinking enough water, eating high-fibre foods, limiting gas-producing foods and trying to calm your anxiety with deep breathing or meditation may help. I personally found that eating probiotic yogurt, all-bran and drinking water in the morning was helpful in getting the bowels moving early in the day.

Moushumi on September 21, 2018:

I knew that I have plasenta previa at 16 weeks Dr told me to rest...and avoid random out going...but I have major problem of constipation...even glesarine suppository couldn't help me.dr don't want to prescribe any medicine...I'm feeling so anxious...

Kiyomi Motomura (author) from Japan on June 26, 2018:

Hi Maria, I'm glad your doctor caught your low-lying placenta so that you have a chance to prevent the tragic outcome that I had to face. My advice is to get your husband to help with house chores since you already have to look after your first born when he is at work. Bed rest seems to be an important factor in helping the placenta grow upward and away from the cervix. Also, do NOT strain one bit on the toilet when constipated. Instead try to relieve the constipation by drinking lots of water, getting a good amount of fibre (oatmeal or All-Bran for breakfast is a great source), and eating yogurt (for the probiotics).

Lastly, listen to your body. If you feel tired, make sure you get a good rest. If you feel something is out of the ordinary, don't be afraid to call your doctor, even if it's nothing, the stress of worrying is something you want to avoid.

I really hope that your pregnancy goes smoothly and that you will safely deliver your baby girl!!

Maria on June 25, 2018:

I have low lying placenta at 21 weeks pregnant. Also I am 37 years old. My gynecologist told me to rest but I have an infant of 14 months old. He is not walking yet and weights 30 pounds. I am an stay home mommy and linking in USA with no relatives. Just my husband and he has to work.I am always constipated. Not having sex ...what other recommendations do you have for me , please. This is my second and a baby girl. My other is a boy so you can imagine how happy I am. Thanks in advance. Maria