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 2 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.
A low-lying placenta, or 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 2 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. Everyday 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?
© 2018 Kiyomi Motomura