Knowledgeable and Experienced Guidance

What is placenta previa?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Pregnancy Related Injuries |

Placenta previa involves the placenta, an essential organ that provides oxygen and nutrients to a growing baby. In a typical pregnancy, the placenta attaches to the upper part of the uterus.

However, the placenta is abnormally low in the uterus in placenta previa. This can cause it to partially or completely cover the cervix, the opening to the birth canal.

Types of placenta previa

There are three main types of placenta previa. The first type is complete previa, where the placenta entirely covers the cervix. The second type is partial previa, in which the placenta only covers the cervix in part. The third type is marginal previa, where the placenta is very close to the cervix but does not cover it.

Causes and risk factors

The exact cause of placenta previa is not fully understood. However, risk factors include having a previous cesarean section, being over the age of 35, smoking, having multiple pregnancies or having a history of uterine surgery. Placenta previa is also more common in women who had placenta previa in a previous pregnancy.

Symptoms and diagnosis

The most common symptom of placenta previa is painless vaginal bleeding during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. This bleeding can vary from light to heavy and can pose significant risks to both the mother and the baby. If medical professionals suspect placenta previa, an ultrasound may diagnose the condition. This imaging technique helps to locate the position of the placenta and determine the extent to which it covers the cervix.

Potential complications

Placenta previa can lead to several complications, including preterm birth, severe bleeding during labor and increased risk of infection. It can also result in complications for the baby, such as low birth weight and respiratory problems.

Medical error and medical malpractice

Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to properly monitor and manage the condition can result in significant harm to both mother and baby. If healthcare providers do not follow standard medical procedures, such as conducting timely ultrasounds or recommending appropriate interventions, it can lead to preventable complications. These errors can result in severe bleeding, emergency hysterectomy or even death.

Proper and timely management of placenta previa is necessary to prevent such adverse outcomes.