Advanced search

Pregnant? See how your baby develops, your body changes, and what you can expect during each week of your pregnancy with the Mumsnet Pregnancy Calendar.

Placenta Previa - I Don't Understand What I Should Be Doing

(22 Posts)
MollyMurphy Sun 06-Jan-13 04:33:45

I am 33 weeks today. At the start of my pregnancy I was told I had a "low lying placenta" but that it would likely lift off. I had a scan at 32 weeks and the tech spent a lot of time looking at my placenta - even doing an internal. he didn't mention a problem, but when I went to my Dr. Appointment on Thursday, my Dr mentioned that the scan came back as "complete placenta Previa".

My doctor just kind of breezed in and out as she usually does but took the time to say she is confused by the results because placentas don't move down, that if this is a true result than its a "game changer" and I won't be able to work or have sex and I need corticosteroid shots for baby's lung development. she then said she was going to send me for more tests and left.

turns out booking this additional scan could take days. so I'm just here in limbo. I went to work yesterday on pins and needles having googled all kind of nightmarish things on the topic. so I called my Dr for clarification.....should I be at work in the meantime? Is there something I should be doing? she said it would be reasonable to err on the side of caution so she put me on med leave and booked those steroid shots for Mon and Tues.

But I am quite scared actually. I am not lifting but still chased after my toddler all day, we are totally not prepared - nothing is ready. I'm gearing up to clean the house and get organized much should I be doing exactly? my dr was so nonchalant but online this lots of people talk about being hospitalized and put on bedrest.

Does anyone here have any experience with this? what kind of risk are baby and I in exactly?? sad

Ellypoo Sun 06-Jan-13 11:31:48

Placenta previa could mean that you are unable to give birth naturally as the placenta is covering the cervix, so it could mean you would have to have an elcs.

Can you call your MW for some reassurance? It sounds like your dr hasn't been very helpful or supportive.

Emsyboo Sun 06-Jan-13 12:17:49

I cannot believe the lack of support you are getting.
l have placenta previa and like you was low lying placenta diagnosed at 20 week scan. look through your notes mine was low lying completely covering OS I had consultant appointment telling me the risks of bleeding and early Labour but also that 50% move up.
I was recommended i cancel my holiday as 4 hour flight was risky.
Unlike you I have had bleeds and been in hospital a few times was scanned at 25 and 28 weeks and no movement they are not expecting it to move but re scanning at 33 weeks. It has to move at least 2 cm clear of cervix to have a vaginal delivery I think (check NICE guidelines and some consultants may want more)
If it doesn't move enough you will need ELCS if you go into early labour EMCS.
Depending on the position some do move up in the last trimester so if it is anterior at the front it could move.
I have a toddler too and find it hard running after DS especially as when I do too much I bleed and end up in hospital try to take it easy but you need proper advice everyone is different and I cannot believe how little support and information you have been given. The worst case scenarios are life threatening and very serious my friend had to have EMCS at 26 weeks and hysterectomy but you are much further along and it is really positive you have had no bleeds. The worst case scenarios are incredibly unlikely but do occur so they should be looking after you I am on strict instructions to call an ambulance if I bleed again.

I don't want to upset you as I said it is incredibly rare that anything would go wrong placenta previa affects 1 in 200 to some degree whether it is fully or partially covering and most of the time it is fine no hospital admssions a nice ELCS happy Mummy and baby but they should be looking after you and keeping you informed to minimise risk.
big hugs x x

kitkatsz23 Sun 06-Jan-13 12:43:01

Molly:don't panic!Good news that you haven't been bleeding and you are 33 weeks!I've been diagnosed with a total placenta previa at my 20 weeks scan. I am 24 weeks today and thank God I haven't bled so far. Praying for it to move...The last 4 weeks I've been feeling like a ticking bomb and I cannot wait for each week to pass and tick off. I've been banned from traveling (managed to travel to Ireland for Christmas to my in-laws as they live close to a hospital) having sex, doing housework, going to the gym, lifting anyhting etc. I've been advised to be close to a hospital, have my phone fully charged and if a bleed occurs go to the hospital straight away. I'd say gravity is our enemy so take it easy as much as you can. This is my first pregnancy and I'm worried of having a premature baby. I was planning to fly home to give birth but unless the placenta moves it looks like I will have to have a ELC which I'm also terrified of! My next scan will be in two weeks time (private) and then an NHS one when I'm 32 weeks. In addition I have an 1 1/2 commute time to work each way every day. I'll have to see what the next scan will tell....

Emsyboo:when is your next scan exactly? Mine is on the 20 January. How are you feeling?

Ladies, are you from London?

Emsyboo Sun 06-Jan-13 14:36:15

Yes don't panic you are in a good position as Molly says.

I am just shocked you haven't had the same list of don'ts that I have had and due to my bleeds am glad I stuck to then including no long walks not too much lifting no sex etc.
I had a big bleed at 25 weeks and they were worried I wouldn't make 30 weeks but I am 30 weeks today and at 28 weeks they were more confident I would go full term smile
My next scan is at 33 weeks on the 4th Feb hoping for movement but not expecting it have been warned I may not be able to go to my sisters wedding which is at 36 weeks.

Molly has yours not moved at all?

I am from Cheshire

Emsyboo Sun 06-Jan-13 15:03:56

Just read you've nit had your scan yet -duh
I have found myself counting the days/weeks feels a loooong pregnancy but I tend to worry too much.
Hope your scan is good news at 20 weeks I was constantly being told about how such and such's placenta moved in 2 weeks etc lots of good stories so still have fingers crossed for mine x

kitkatsz23 Sun 06-Jan-13 15:21:55

I think doctors/hospitals don't worry too much about placenta previa until there is no bleeding.They just don't want to scare you off and put you in a panic or they just simply have no time to explain it...

Emsyboo:great that you have made it to 30 weeks after your big bleed,it's encouraging! And there is still chance for it to move by 33 weeks. I am hoping my next scan will say it's moved, I would be so happy!I'll be thinking of you on the 4th February.

Molly:I hope you are feeling a bit calmer now!? Could you hire a cleaning lady or ask your partner/husband to clean your house instead?You should rest and put your feet up if you can.

MollyMurphy Sun 06-Jan-13 15:44:50

Thanks ladies! it's easy to work yourself into a state reading too much Internet information. I'll have to just take it easy and see how it goes. I think my doctor should have taken at least a few minutes to explain and plan with me - I am glad I called her and got off work as that is one load off. my husband is trying to help but honesty our toddler (bless his heart) is a real handful at the it's challenging to put my feet up.

I appreciate hearing your experiences

MollyMurphy Sun 06-Jan-13 15:59:02

I should say, I don't have a midwife just my OB. it seems a more common practice in the UK to have a midwife as well but Not typical here in Canada, where I am situated.

forevermore Sun 06-Jan-13 16:02:37

In some ways ignorance is bliss. My second and last pregnancy was hurried from 20 to 38 weeks due to my finding out I had placenta Previn. I have a medical background and hence knew that mine (grade IV or complete placenta previa) would not move. I knew bleeding could lead to death of me or my baby or hysterectomy. Needless to say I didn't do anything. I for signed off from work and laid down whilst my DH worked and looked after our DD1 who was a toddler with the help of a childminder. Consequently I had a ELC at week 38 and a healthy child. The placenta is like a ballon of blood and the pressure of a baby resting on it could make it rupture. When I stood up I felt like I had a bowling ball inside me. It was sheer horror..

Thankfully you are almost term. The worst if over. I would just rest. Do nothing if it dosent NEED doing. And have plans in place for delivery from here on in. BTW I didn't bleed at all which is very rare for complete PP which I can only attribute to resting.

Emsyboo Sun 06-Jan-13 17:14:09

Sorry just retread again and realised I was calling kitkat- Molly blame baby brain!
Thanks for your experience I would second the taking it easy x x

kitkatsz23 Sun 06-Jan-13 17:40:34

Forevermore: thanks for sharing your experience, it's just making me think...if my placenta hasn't moved by the next scan (by 20th January) I'll ask my GP to sign me off work. I'm concerned about my commute to work and certainly don't want to wait until I start to bleed. All I want is a healthy baby.

Molly: I've been advised by a senior sonographer only after my scan. I haven't seen a doctor or a midwide since, I'm due to see my GP this Thursday.

MollyMurphy Sun 06-Jan-13 18:13:50

That is a good experience to reference forevermore - thank you

Crossing-fingers for youkit that your scan will show improvement

kitkatsz23 Tue 08-Jan-13 17:13:39

Molly: Have you had your steroid shots yesterday and today? Did they draw up a plan for you? How are you feeling?

MollyMurphy Tue 08-Jan-13 17:19:41

Hi kitkatsz23 - I had my first shot yesterday and an NST on the baby. All looked good. Going for my second shot today. I haven't heard anything about my ultrasound so no other news. Off work, trying to relax and let my DH take on the brunt of childcare. Itching to clean the whole house and get lots done but far.

They haven't taken you off work kit? Do you at least have a desk job? How are you holding up?

kitkatsz23 Tue 08-Jan-13 20:11:52

So it's all good news Molly, the shots are under way just in case. You haven't been bleeding so it's all good! Relax, put your feet up! You'll have plenty of time to clean afterwardssmile)Good luck for today! I hope you'll have a scan soon.

No, I haven't been taken off work after my 20weeks scan as it was still early. Yes, I have a desk job. I have no bleeds thank God and they booked me in for an NHS scan at 32 weeks (1st March) to see if it's moved or not. It is so far ahead that we have decided to have a private scan on the 20th January. If it hasn't moved I'll have a talk with my GP as I don't want to take risks with my commute. Counting down the days now,we shall see!

Fairylea Tue 08-Jan-13 20:21:25

Hi I was unsure whether to post or not really but I had an undiagnosed total placenta previa with my ds 7 months ago.

He was my second baby and I was booked in for a section due to totally unrelated issues (birth trauma with long labour of dd).

I had no bleeding and no pain throughout and no one picked up on the placenta being low although looking back now I can see there were problems with the 3 scans I had being unclear and really they should have checked them again.

As it was I felt fine and had no advice to do anything otherthan carry on as normal!! (Shockingly) ... so I got married, went on honeymoon to Rome, worked until 37 weeks and even had sex until the day before my section.

During the section they realised the placenta was previa and I bled a lot. I lost about 3 litres of blood. Mostly because they weren't expecting it at all and expected me to be a straightforward section so they got a bit of a shock!

It was very very scary but the reason I'm posting this is that because you are prepared I'm sure things will be fine for you. They know what they are dealing with..

Even in my case they sorted me out quickly and were soon joking about needing to go on holiday smile ... I spent 2 days in recovery but this was fine and I had two blood transfusions. I stayed 4 days in hospital and recovered well at home.

Don't panic.

MollyMurphy Tue 08-Jan-13 22:04:10

Thank you for sharing Fairylea - I am so glad it worked out and you and baby were safe and sound. Its amazing isn't it that it wasn't caught despite 3 scans? Thankgoodness there were no complications. I am hopeful because Ive had no bleeds that I can make it to at least 37 weeks - that would be a great blessing.

Emsyboo Wed 09-Jan-13 09:03:41

Thanks fairylea quite shocking they missed it but a good outcome the good thing is in surgery they are adept at reacting and analysing a situation quickly even when unknowns occur annoying they didn't know before hand but a good outcome on the end despite you losing a lot of blood you poor thing.
They nearly missed mine at 20 weeks which would have meant no more scans but we asked her to check the placenta as I had infections after my DS was born from retained placenta and had to be induced at
39 weeks as placenta started bleeding.
However they probably would have picked it up after my bleeds but knowing is certainly better than not.
Hope your placenta moves Molly if not you are in safe hands I am sure grin

kitkatsz23 Wed 09-Jan-13 10:12:27

Fairylea, your story is amazing and makes the phrase so true that ignorance is bliss - as Forevermore said before. Great that it all turned out well for you! I am lucky, my sonographer picked it up straight away, she was senior and really great. I'm at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea hospital in London and they are specializing in complicated pregnancies.

We are all lucky, it's hard to believe that women in Africa are still dying in this condition...

Emsyboo Thu 10-Jan-13 18:11:03

It is easy to feel sorry for yourself but this is more common than people realise and in the olden days and deprived countries women and babies die.
I complain about being pregnant and these difficulties but I have friends who can't get pregnant and I feel blessed we have a baby and get pregnant smile

kitkatsz23 Sun 20-Jan-13 15:40:59

Hello Ladies!How are you all?Molly, did you have an ultrasound scan since?Emsyboo,how are you?

Little update:I had a private scan today.My placenta hasn't moved and it is very unlikely that it will move....However, the baby is growing well,very active and looks very cosy inside.She is also measured above average of her age (26weeks today) which I don't mind at all in case I'll have to deliver earlier.No bleeds yet so I am hoping to get to 30weeks now without any bleeds.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: