Monday, 24 February 2014

Everything I Didn't Want to Know about Placenta Previa

The countdown is officially on and this baby will be here soon!  I'm now in my 32nd week and feeling pretty good.  I'm little sore, terrible heartburn and having trouble sleeping... typical pregnancy things. This time has been very different from the others.  As it draws closer to the end, I am in a bit of panic mode and I'm going to tell you why......

Fourth time is apparently not the charm, and I have a condition called Placenta Previa. In this condition, the placenta placement is less than favourable... and its either covering the cervix (complete) or very close to the cervix (within 2cm; marginal).  


I found this little visual on Baby Center.




This was seen first on my second trimester ultrasound, and my doctor has been keeping watch via ultrasound ever since.  It seems that it was marginal in the earlier stages but is now looking like its complete.  Either way, at this point, if there is not a dramatic (and improbable) shift in position then this little #4 will need to be delivered via cesarean section.  I am writing this post as a form of personal venting as I am having a bit of a time digesting this news.... my three boys were all delivered without a hitch and after quick labours. Being faced with this situation has been quite difficult and has had me reviewing the ins and outs of this condition. My other purpose is to share good information about this condition for others experiencing it.

I have been pretty much asymptomatic thus far.  I had a couple of indications earlier on but that seems to be gone now.  I was hoping that would mean that the problem was resolving - not so much. So from now on, I will have an ultrasound biweekly to see the placement of this misplaced placenta.  Fingers crossed and here's hoping this silly thing moves!!

As far as what causes Placenta Previa, there are a few things that increase a woman's risk of having it:
-Previous surgery of the uterus (including c-section)
-Previous birth
-Smoking
-Age >35
-Multiple pregnancy

Since I only have one of those increased risks, I'm feeling a little ripped off. I blame the kids. Hahaha. But seriously though, this is kind of a strange occurrence for me. Even my OB was surprised.  

At this point, I am just hoping for a miraculous change in the situation.  Otherwise, I'm told that the safest management plan includes hospital admission by 35 weeks (giving me just a little over 3 weeks at home) and delivery via planned c-section around 37-38 weeks (I'm hoping for the later timeline so that this little one has plenty of time to grow and so those little lungs are well developed).  

Some of the risks associated with Placenta Previa include pre-labour & preterm bleeding (mild to severe) and preterm birth, excessive bleeding during labour and other equally scary things.

This kind of situation is difficult for anyone and I am finding it extremely challenging because this is my line of work and I have all kinds of knowledge of the worst case scenario.  I'm trying my very best to look at the bright side, and will continue to try to see the silver lining (when I find it).

Here is some more information for your reading pleasure from Mayo Clinic.