Placenta Previa & Vasa Previa Treatments in NJ

The placenta is the organ that provides your developing baby with food and oxygen throughout your pregnancy, and it moves as the uterus stretches and grows. Issues with the placenta can cause complications for both the mother and baby, which is why proper care and management are so important. Our specialists at NJPA are skilled and experienced in care for placenta previa, placental abruption, and vasa previa in NJ, providing comprehensive care for those with high-risk pregnancies every step of the way.

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What is Placenta Previa?

Placenta previa occurs when the placenta covers some or all of the cervix during the last months of pregnancy. Although it is normal for the placenta to be low in the uterus early in a pregnancy, complications can arise if it eventually attaches to the lower part of the uterus. This can cause significant bleeding before or during delivery, which puts both mother and baby at risk. 

What are the Symptoms of Placenta Previa?

The main symptom of placenta previa is sudden bleeding, which may be light or heavy. Bleeding can occur during pregnancy without a serious cause, but you must visit your doctor immediately so they can assess the cause of the bleeding. NJ Perinatal Associates has the latest technology that allows us to pinpoint the reason for the bleeding and provide appropriate care. Those with placenta previa may also notice:

  • Cramps or sharp pains
  • Intermittent bleeding that stops and begins again, days or weeks later
  • Bleeding after intercourse

How is Placenta Previa Diagnosed?

Placenta previa may be noticed during a 20-week ultrasound, but a low-lying placenta often corrects itself by the end of the pregnancy. Bleeding in the second half of pregnancy will usually be monitored and diagnosed using transvaginal ultrasound, transabdominal ultrasound, or MRI. 

How is Placenta Previa Treated?

Treatment methods for placenta previa will depend on the amount of bleeding, how far along you are in your pregnancy, and the health of your baby. In cases with very little bleeding, your doctor may recommend bed rest. Heavy bleeding may require hospital bed rest and medication to prevent preterm labor. If bleeding is uncontrollable, emergency cesarean delivery may be necessary. 

What is Placental Abruption?

Placental abruption occurs when the placenta tears away from the wall of the uterus. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to the death of the child and mother. This condition is so concerning because when the placenta detaches, the baby may not be able to get enough oxygen or nutrients. This occurs in only 1% of pregnancies and it is the number one cause of bleeding after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

What are the Symptoms of Placental Abruption?

The main symptom of placental abruption is vaginal bleeding, but bleeding does not occur in all cases. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience vaginal bleeding during your third trimester. Other symptoms that can occur with placental abruption, which often worsen over time, include:

  • Discomfort
  • Stomach or back pain that occurs suddenly
  • Uterine tenderness

How is Placental Abruption Diagnosed?

Placental abruption is diagnosed by your doctor during a physical exam and using an ultrasound. Blood tests and fetal monitoring may also be performed. Depending on the severity of your abruption, you may be able to rest at home, or you may be admitted to the hospital.

How is Placental Abruption Treated?

Your doctor will determine if your placental abruption is mild, moderate, or severe, which then determines your treatment. Mild abruption may only require medications to encourage your baby’s lung development, and you may be sent home to rest. If mild placental abruption occurs at or after 34 weeks of pregnancy, your doctor may choose to induce labor or perform a cesarean delivery. If the baby is properly developed, early delivery can reduce the risk of further complications. Moderate to severe placental abruption usually requires immediate delivery. 

What is Vasa Previa?

Vasa previa is an extremely rare condition that can be quite dangerous, causing the death of 50% of undiagnosed babies. However, when the condition is detected during pregnancy, chances for survival are much higher. Vasa previa is caused by a complication in which fetal blood vessels cross or run near the internal orifice of the uterus. This can be caused by past cesarean section births, low-lying placentas, and in-vitro fertilization.

What are the Symptoms of Vasa Previa?

Many cases of vasa previa have no symptoms, and the condition is not detected until labor and delivery. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience painless vaginal bleeding, as a sign of vasa previa is very dark red blood. Since the baby is naturally lower in oxygen, the fetus’s blood is darker than the mother’s blood.

How is Vasa Previa Diagnosed?

Vasa previa is very rare, so it is not usually screened for. However, at NJPA we ensure that those with risk factors during their pregnancy have access to the appropriate tests to promote their health and the health of their baby. Vasa previa can be detected using a transvaginal scan with a color Doppler. This allows the technician to see the direction and speed of blood flow and determine if any abnormalities are present. 

How is Vasa Previa Treated?

When vasa previa is identified and diagnosed before delivery, proper management can be achieved, and the chances for the baby’s survival are very high. If you are diagnosed with vasa previa during your pregnancy, you will likely have regular ultrasounds to monitor the condition. The management of vasa previa aims to allow the pregnancy to progress for as long as possible. Some cases may require hospitalization for close monitoring and bed rest. Cesarean delivery between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy may also be recommended. This type of delivery allows your doctor to control aspects of the delivery that would not be possible during spontaneous labor.

The conditions detailed above may sound intimidating, but proper care and management give a mother and baby the best chances at a successful pregnancy and delivery. We are proud to provide care for high-risk pregnancies at our office locations in NJ while diagnosing pregnancy complications as early as possible. 

At NJPA, we are proud to offer our patients the care of a team that truly cares about their health and the health of their babies. Our physicians have years of experience diagnosing and treating both common and rare complications of pregnancy. We work closely with our referring doctors so that patients can feel confident that all members of their care team are kept in the loop at all times. 

Pregnancy complications can often be managed successfully with early diagnosis and comprehensive care. We want your pregnancy to continue to be an exciting time in your life. We provide care for several pregnancy-related complications so that you can feel confident in your health and the health of your baby. 

Placenta Previa & Vasa Previa Treatments in New Jersey

At NJ Perinatal Associates, we are equipped to help expectant mothers facing any of these complications. Although vasa previa is quite rare, our team has dealt with this complication often and is up-to-date on the best methods for management and care. Our doctors are world-class and pride themselves on their ability to foster successful pregnancies. We will perform all tests necessary to help you and your baby stay as happy and healthy as possible. To learn more about the care we provide for those with high-risk pregnancies in NJ or to schedule an appointment at one of our offices, please contact us at NJPA today.