Dealing with Placenta Previa

placenta previa

I’ve lucked out in having a mostly low risk pregnancy.  I had one minor complication, however, and I want to share my words of encouragement for anyone else experiencing the same thing.

After my 20-week ultrasound, I received a call from my midwife telling me that I had a minor placenta previa.  Placenta previa is when the placenta goes over the cervix.  This is a problem because if it remains there during labor, the baby will have to push through the cervix, which can lead to dangerous bleeding both for mother and baby.  If previas are severe enough, caesareans are necessary to prevent this from happening.

In my case, the previa wasn’t severe.  My placenta was only just going over the cervix.  My midwife assured me that in 98% of cases, the previa went away before delivery.  My baby was still going to be moving higher up in my body, and as it moved, the placenta would move with it.

My midwife called me about the previa for two reasons.  The primary one was to put me under some restrictions.  Just because the previa was probably going to move up on its own didn’t mean that there weren’t some things I could do to encourage that happening, or more to the point, to avoid doing some things that could make the previa worse.

I just had to refrain from certain activities: namely, putting any pressure on my lower body or pelvic muscles.  No lifting anything weighing more than 20 pounds, and sadly, no yoga moves that put pressure on that region.  That meant I had to stop practicing my squats in yoga class for the time being.

The second reason my midwife called was to inform me that they’d schedule an ultrasound to check on my previa at 28 weeks.  If the results from the ultrasound showed that the previa had moved, then I could resume some of these activities (though at that point in my pregnancy, they wouldn’t want me lifting much more than 20 pounds regularly anyway, but at least I could get back to practicing squats).

I was upset about the previa at first.  Come on, I’m a hormonal pregnant woman: if beer commercials can make me cry, then hearing about any complications in my pregnancy, no matter how minor, are going to upset me too.  But everything that my midwife said came true.

My third ultrasound confirmed that my placenta did what it usually does in the case of early-noticed previas: moved up with everything else.  It wasn’t as high above the cervix as is considered ideal for labor, but I still had a few more months to go, and my midwife was certain it would keep moving up.  She told me that even if it hadn’t moved, as long as it hadn’t gotten any worse we could have still gone for a vaginal delivery, they’d just have had to watch it closely.

There are worse cases than mine out there, including much worse types of previas.  But I just wanted to assure anyone that might be experiencing something similar to me: these kinds of hiccups happen in pregnancy.  It’s OK to let yourself be upset about them, but then pick yourself back up.  It’s all going to be fine.  Stick with doctors you trust, and you’ll be in good hands.  Placenta previa isn’t the end of the world, and if the worst case is a C-section, well, I have many friends with lovely, healthy children delivered that way.  It’s all going to be OK.

 

*(The above image by Victor Habbick is from freedigitalphotos.net).

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