At our 20 week scan the ultrasound technician asked if I had had Placenta Previa in my first pregnancy. I replied no and the tech went on to explain that it appeared that I have placenta previa with this pregnancy. Placenta Previa is a condition where the placenta partially or wholly covers the cervix. Have you heard of this condition? I had never heard of it but apparently it affects one in 200 pregnancies.
At the 20 week scan it appeared that the placenta was only partially covering the cervix. If it is only partially covering at 20 weeks, then it is highly likely that the placenta will move away from the cervix as the pregnancy progresses. If the placenta stays covering or partially covering the cervix then the only option for the birth is a cesarian section. There is also a high risk of bleeding or spotting during pregnancy.
I had a follow up scan at 32 weeks and the placenta had moved, but it had moved in the wrong direction and was now covering the cervix. I was destined for a cesarian section, which I was a little worried about considering the relatively 'easy' birth and recovery last time. Because of the likelihood of bleeding, women with placenta previa were previously admitted to hospital for bed rest from 34 weeks, regardless of whether or not they were bleeding. These days you are advised to rest, but can do light walking. My midwife also asked if I had ambulance cover. Not really needed since we would make it in the car to the hospital before an ambulance arrived at our house. I was also extremely anxious about haemorrhaging, but the worry came to nothing as I had no bleeding or spotting.
At 34 weeks 4 days I went into labour. We arrived at the hospital at 8:15pm and they confirmed I was having contractions but then sent us home because they assumed the contractions would ease. The contractions didn't and we were back at the hospital 2 hour later. I was given a steroid shot at 2am to help the baby's lungs develop. The OBGYN who sent us home apologised for doing so, which was very sweet him. It was decided that since I wasn't bleeding, the best thing to do would be to wait the 12 hours for the next steroid shot (I ended up in labour for 18 hours before the c-section), but at 1pm they prepped me for surgery and the baby was delivered at 2:24pm. The baby needed oxygen for a few minutes but didn't need a humidy crib. She was in the special care nursery for just over two weeks to establish feeding. She had tube feeds as well as breast feeds and bottles. Handling all three like a chap, but not that great at the breast feeding, her sucking reflex just wasn't developed enough yet and she became tired easily.
I researched a bit about placenta previa on the internets but there are hardly any accounts of placenta previa, especially ones where things don't go very wrong. I hope this account eases the mind of someone else with placenta previa.