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The connection between placenta previa and vasa previa

Most Oregon obstetricians keep their eyes out for the more common pregnancy complications that can arise. However, some of the rarer complications may not even be on a doctor’s radar until it is too late. For instance, if a woman develops placenta previa, it could lead to vasa previa and stillbirth.

Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta attaches to a lower portion of the uterus, which could block the cervix. This condition has dangers of its own to mother and child, but one of the more frightening results is the potential to cause vasa previa in which some of the blood vessels grow at the cervical opening and the lower part of the uterus. The most obvious symptom of this condition is vaginal bleeding, which should not happen during pregnancy.

The bleeding can be significant and can easily threaten the life of the unborn baby. If an Oregon woman’s obstetrician fails to catch the condition early and quickly administer the appropriate treatment, it could result in the stillbirth of the child. A routine ultrasound may identify the condition if a doctor pays attention. Yes, this is a rare condition, but that does not mean a doctor should not keep an eye out for anomalies and rarities because they do happen.

Placenta previa is not the only risk factor or way that a woman could end up with vasa previa, but it does provide a “symptom” for obstetricians to watch for if they are paying appropriate attention, other than sudden and substantial blood loss. If a doctor fails to identify and treat this condition, a mother could lose her child to stillbirth. In a time when the medical industry has more technology and other diagnostic tools at its disposal, conditions such as this one should never cause a woman to lose her child, especially since early diagnosis and treatment put a baby’s chances of a live birth at around 97%.