Sunday, October 7, 2012

Low laying placenta and vasa previa during pregnancy

Low laying placenta during pregnancy: Placenta praevia (or a low-lying placenta) is when the placenta is attached in the lower part of the uterus, near to or covering the cervix.
The position of your placenta is recorded at your 18 to 21-week ultrasound scan. If it is significantly low you will be offered an extra ultrasound scan later in your pregnancy (usually at around 32 weeks) to recheck its position.
For 9 out of 10 women the placenta has moved into the upper part of the uterus by this time.
If the placenta is still low in the uterus, there is a higher chance that you could bleed during your pregnancy or at the time of birth. This bleeding can be very heavy and put you and your baby at risk. You may be advised to come into hospital at the end of your pregnancy so that emergency treatment can be given very quickly if you do bleed. If the placenta is near or covering the cervix, the baby cannot get past it to be born vaginally and a caesarean section will be recommended.
Vasa praevia   
Vasa praevia is a rare condition (occurring in about 1 in 3,000 to 1 in 6,000 births). It occurs when the blood vessels of the umbilical cord run through the membranes covering the cervix. Normally the blood vessels would be protected within the umbilical cord. When the membranes rupture and the waters break, these vessels may be torn, causing vaginal bleeding. The baby can lose a life threatening amount of blood and die. It is very difficult to diagnose but it may occasionally be spotted before birth by an ultrasound scan. Vasa praevia should be suspected if there is bleeding and the baby’s heart rate changes suddenly after rupture of the membranes.
It is linked with placenta praevia.

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