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Placenta covering os - terrified by research on the web

(34 Posts)
memum Mon 13-Dec-04 14:44:13

I am 32 and a half weeks pregnant with my second child. I had a scan at 20 weeks and was told I had a low lying placenta but really nothing to worry about and I 'll have a rescan at 36 weeks. Baby is also breech - hence I'm pretty convinced that this time I'll be having a C - Section.
Stupidly I started looking on the internet and began to read all sorts of horror tales about blood loss etc, the need for bed rest etc. I was told nothing about this. In fact, I was told that it (placenta) would probably move.

When looking at my notes for the scan it says Placenta site: covering os. Am I right in thinking that this is full blown placenta praevia? Why was I not told of the possible complications and is not a 36 week scan a but late? Ahhh!! I'm getting scared. By the sounds of things I could bleed at any time. I have a very demanding 20 month old toddler and not sure how I am meant to take it easy looking after him!! Also the thought of being hospitalised over Xmas if I do start to bleed ........................ Was I not told all of this so that it would not cause me undue worry? Anyone else experiencing the same? I'm still not dressed (its 2:40pm! ) as I am so worried about this and barely think I'll be able to leave the house lest something happens!! (I can't drive (taking test next spring - failed 3 already!) hence push toddler in buggy everywhere - ie: STRENUOUS!!)

feastofstevenmom Mon 13-Dec-04 14:47:51

Sorry, don't have any idea about placenta position. I am sure that if there was any need for you to rest/be off work that the hospital would have told you. Please call your hospital midwives ASAP to get them to explain whats happening, and so they can put your mind at rest.

memum Mon 13-Dec-04 14:51:29

Thanks feastofsteven,

I will call now.........better get dressed soon after, ready to greet husband home from work and look like I'm in control!!!

skiingawhitexmas Mon 13-Dec-04 14:55:04

Hi Memum
Sorry to read about your concerns and I'm sorry that I don't have anything helpful to say but just wanted to bump for you in case someone is online who can help you with more info.

Thinking of you, sending lots of hugs your way and hope everything is ok.

aloha Mon 13-Dec-04 14:58:12

Call your midwives and explain how worried you are. If the placenta is directly over the os then yes, there is a risk of bleeding and you should be taking things a bit slower if that is remotely possible - but it may not be covering the os and may be just close to it. I had complete placenta praevia and had two short episodes of bleeding which were dramatic but very shortlived and essentially harmless. Ds born by section at 37+5days after (sorry) four to five weeks in hospital - everything fine with him and me. But I did have complete placenta praevia. Please talk to them as they will know better than me where your placenta really is (!) and I agree that 36 weeks does seem a bit late. But don't panic - very, very few cases of pp involve the placenta directly over the os as mine was .

JaNgLyBELLS Mon 13-Dec-04 14:58:19

This is the bad side of the internet isn't it - frightening ourselves silly! The doctors would have told you if there was anything to worry about so that you would take extra care.

PrettyHannukahndles Mon 13-Dec-04 15:10:04

Memum, please bear in mind that you may only have read about what goes wrong - no-one, sadly, rights articles about the many pregnancies that go right. If there's a 1% risk of something going wrong, it means that it goes well in 99% of cases.

I have a story for you of one of the cases where things went well.

My mum had placenta praevia with my sister (her third child) with the placenta over the os. She had been prepped for a caesar the following morning, presumably 37w, when she went into labour and gave birth normally and fairly speedily. There was a bit more bleeding than would be considered normal, but nothing severe. Afterwards the doctors said that the placenta had started peeling away from the cervix, just enough to let cervix dilate, so my sister was born and the cord clamped before the placenta itself suffered any significant damage.

You definitely need to talk to your midwife. And it's not trivial, because if a pregnant woman has an anxiety, then it should be addressed. I'm sure your midwife will be sympathetic to your concerns and explain it all clearly.

The reason (AFAIK) for the scan being at 36w is to find out for certain the placenta's position and to decide whether you will definitely need a caesar. There's not much point making those decisions earlier than 36w, because the uterus is still growing and the position of the placenta can change. And after that, obviously, you are likely to go into labour and it's important that the posotion is known by then. I have a fibroid that in my second pg gave some concern whether it would interfere with labour, and was scanned at 36w to check its position for the same reason.

lilsmum Mon 13-Dec-04 15:15:34

memum, i had the same with dd and also said the same on my notes but i didnt worry bout it and thought i will deal with what happens at the time, luckily on my 36wk scan it had moved enough to be able to have a natural delivery.put your mind at ease till your scan and then you will know for sure.

xx

aloha Mon 13-Dec-04 15:17:59

Have you called the midwives yet?

memum Mon 13-Dec-04 20:21:29

Spoke to midwife (I actually don't seem to have one that's specifically for me which doesn't help - I just see one of several at the hospital as I live nearby)

She didn't help an awful lot but said I should take it easy. I am going to see midwife this friday and husband coming too for extra back up!

Thank you for all your support,

Much appreciated

EbonyZebraScrooge Mon 13-Dec-04 20:42:38

Don't scare yourself, babies turn & most placentas effectively move up.

My placenta was just touching OS, according to my notes. When I read up on other people's exerpiences, what struck me was how many women had no symptoms at all. There was a woman with full-blown PPrevia who was hiking up and down mountains all over Australia with her husband. Never saw a touch of blood or had a bad moment. She meant to fly back to UK at 32 weeks pregnant when she vaguely remembered something about her 20 week scan & the low-lying placenta. Most women have no worse than one (relatively) scarey bleeding episode. There are even accounts of both mother & baby surviving Placenta Previa in natural childbirth (I thought it was always fatal, too, but there you go).

Moomin Mon 13-Dec-04 22:31:20

i was in exactly the same situation as you, memum, except this was with my 1st child. I didn't realise until I'd done some research like you just how dangerous pp could be. My notes read the same as yours. after my 32 wk scan and this had been written up by the sonographer, they didn't say a dicky bird to me - my follow-up appt wasn't for another 5 days so dh and i went for a break to celebrate our 1st wedding anni, in a cottage in the middle of nowhere!

when i came back i did my reading up and was petrified! i rang the hospital and i was told to go straight in. i more or less spent the rest of the preg in hosp, as a precaution, although i had had no bleeding at all, despite the placenta totally covering the os. it's fairly unusual to have this with no bleeding but it does happen!

the general consensus at the hospital was that some midwives / doctors take it very seriously and take the maximum precautions where as if there's been no bleeding they just say to exercise caution and not overdo it.

I have to add though that i took up a grievance with the hospital about their procedures and lack of guidance or advice for me and as a result they have changed their policies. if you're really worried, ring the hospital back and insist on a proper face-to-face consultation with an expert in that field i.e. a consultant. at the very least you should now have a consultant to discuss section dates with. you should also be going in to give bloods (for matches) every week now in case of an emergency.
i was also allowed home for 2 weeks but i had to guarantee that i was never alone in case i haemorraged so i was kind of babysat by my dh, mil and dad in turn! but i preferred it to being in hospital.

i really don't think they're treating this the way they should be with you... having said that, dd and i are living testament to the fact that you can come through it in a non-traumatic way, as long as you are treated with care. good luck - and don't take no for an answer xx

aloha Mon 13-Dec-04 22:47:28

Complete placenta praevia is a very serious pregnancy condition. It is also NOT usual for a placenta totally covering the OS at 20 weeks to be out of the way at term. Low lying placenta just means the placenta is in the lower half of the womb, and as the womb stretches, with the placenta attached, this does not normally present a problem. Where the placenta is directly slap bang over the os, this does not apply in most cases. That's not to say you should panic, but I was advised to take it easy, to keep my medical notes with me at all times so that if I started to bleed I could go straight to the nearest hospital immediately etc. I think it is downright negligent not to mention the risks of this condition, frankly. I'm not trying to engender panic - I had it myself and ds and I were fine, but the hospital should really talk to women frankly about pregnancy conditions IMO.

aloha Mon 13-Dec-04 23:00:27

I was also told - no intercourse! Very good advice, if a bit depressing for dh!

inglis Tue 14-Dec-04 10:21:10

I was in the same situation as you with my first pregnancy. Remember placentas do move up (as mine did.) Try not to worry. It seems like the doctors were not unduly concerned so you must try not to be either. I am the worst person when it comes to scaring myself silly by reading stuff on the web so can sympathise.

Moomin Tue 14-Dec-04 19:01:40

yes but inglis, did your notes say that your placenta was covering the os at 32 weeks? mine was and i was admitted as soon as the ante-natal ward found out, and i had a venflon in my hand and steroid injections in my bum within hours!

Yes, lots and lots of women have low-lying placentas in the first/secind trimesters but as you enter the third it should have shown signs of shifting up. i totally agree with aloha - we both came through it relatively unscathed with healthy babies, but it can be a very dangerous condition. you must insist on seeing a specialist asap - if they say you're in no danger then fine, but if the placenta is still covering the os at this stage and you were to start bleeding, you and the baby could be in danger. like aloha said, i also don't want to scaremonger, but it does need to be dealt with by the hospital.

my midwife told me she's seen one case of pp that caused near-death in her career and it was the scariest thing she'd seen. thankfully, both mum and baby survived, but it needn't have been the case.
please let us know how you get on x

inglis Wed 15-Dec-04 10:39:03

No, Moomin, they did not. I read memum's original message so quickly I missed that the placenta was covering the os. My experience was that of a low-lying placenta. Memum's experience does sound sound different. Let us know how you get on memum.

wordsmith Wed 15-Dec-04 11:14:01

Tell the midwife you want an appointment with your consultant ASAP. Make him tell you exactly what your notes mean and why they haven't warned you of any complications. It may be that your notes are unbecessarily dramatic-sounding, especially if you have just been reading loads of scare stories on the internet (and let's face it those are never going to be difficult to find.) I had a low lying placenta at 20 week scan and by 36 weeks it had moved. the VAST MAJORITY do. But I also found that unless you ask for specific info and advice, they don't give it to you. Hopefully talking to your consultant will put your mind totally at rest. In the meantime, get dressed, stop worrying!! High BP could cause you a lot more damage than pushing a buggy!! Good luck.

wordsmith Wed 15-Dec-04 11:15:34

Sorry just realised that sounded a bit bossy! I can understand why you're worrying but am sure everything will be fine! But you won't know unless you ask specific questions.

memum Wed 15-Dec-04 12:43:13

Spoken to two different midwives and they still do seem to be really downplaying my worries. They said just wait for my 36 week scan. My dh happens to be in the legal profession (deals with negligence!) so maybe if I remind them they might change their tune. I'll try to get to speak to the consultant. I feel as if my keep asking them is giving them the impression that I'm unduly paranoid but your advice is niggling at me to demand more info. It seems hospitals differ so much in the way they handle certain things...........

PrettyHannukahndles Wed 15-Dec-04 16:49:22

I'm quite surprised that the midwives haven't either put your mind at rest or refered you to a consultant. Have you spoken to your GP? Perhaps a little nudge from that direction would help. It's certainly an unsatisfactory situation for you.

aloha Wed 15-Dec-04 17:08:05

Agree. I think I'd insist on being rescanned and seeing a consultant. a placent actually 'covering the os' - if this is accurate - should be sounding alarm bells. I DON'T want to panic you - as I said and as Moomin has said, we both had this, but if you do have a placenta over the os, it is one of the most serious pregnancy complications there is and I'm surprised your midwives are being so blase.

hattyyellow Wed 08-Oct-08 15:23:14

Sorry to bump this - was after any of the original posters or some advice!

I was told I had a low lying placenta at 20 week scan. Registrar I saw immediately afterwards looked at the notes and said not to worry and 70% likely it would move out of the way. She booked me in for a 32 week scan.

I've just phoned to try and see if I could put the 32 week scan back by a week to change the date. Midwife said absolutely not, that the placenta was covering the o/s at the 20 week scan and they very much need to check at 32 weeks to see where the placenta is now.

She also said 70% chance of it moving was inaccurate and she couldn't even give me 50/50 odds. And that if it hasn't moved from this position I will be classed as placenta previa, may well get bleeding, may well need bed rest. She said no sex, no lifting at all - all the things that surely the consultant should have told me earlier?

(we have two toddlers and a crazy self-employed work schedule which means our income would be completely ruined if one of us wasn't available).

I feel completely thrown that the registrar said it was so likely to move and that no one explained to me the seriousness of this.

I had to have a section last time as my first twin was breech and this had to be under GA as my platelets dropped.

This time around my platelets are slowly dropping again and I am just heartbroken that I may well need another section and that I may well be knocked out again. I found it very hard to recover from the section, from the GA and emotionally from having had that birth experience.

I just can't bear for it to all happen again.

Sorry I know there are much worse childbirth/medical/life experiences and I should stop feeling sorry for myself - but I feel so panicked and miserable now, I've been lifting my toddlers in and out of cars, working long hours, not getting a huge amount of rest - the sort of life that I imagine most pregnant mums with kids have. And now I wonder how carefully I should be taking things..so confused .

CS7 Wed 08-Oct-08 15:55:07

So sorry to read your accounts ladies, sounds rather hairy. Can I ask- what is OS?

hattyyellow Wed 08-Oct-08 16:08:34

o/s I think is the exit to the cervix..so placenta completely covering it means there's no safe way out for the baby..

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