Posts Tagged ‘Cesarean section’

Severe bleeding during pregnancy can be placenta previa

Monday, July 27th, 2015

contemplative pregnant woman During my mom’s pregnancy with me, she was diagnosed with placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta lies very low in the uterus and covers all or part of the cervix. The cervix is the opening to the uterus that sits on the top of the vagina. If you have placenta previa, when your labor starts, your cervix begins to thin out and dilate (open up), and the blood vessels connecting the placenta to your uterus may tear. This can cause severe bleeding.

My mom remembers the day I was born, like it was yesterday. She remembers my Aunt running down the hall to get towels for her while she stood in the bathroom bleeding during her third trimester. She was rushed to the hospital and had an emergency Cesarean section (C-section) performed. My mom says she can still remember what the pressure felt like on her lower abdomen during the procedure.

We don’t know what causes placenta previa, which happens in about 1 in 200 pregnancies. If you have placenta previa early in pregnancy, it usually isn’t a problem. However, it can cause serious bleeding and other complications later in pregnancy.

Diagnosis and symptoms

The most common symptom of placenta previa is painless bleeding from the vagina during the second half of pregnancy. If you have spotting or bleeding during pregnancy, it’s important you call your provider right away. But, not all women with placenta previa have vaginal bleeding. In fact, about one-third of women with placenta previa don’t have this symptom. An ultrasound can usually pinpoint the placenta’s location to determine if you have placenta previa.

Is there treatment?

Treatment depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy, the seriousness of your bleeding and the health of you and your baby. The goal is to keep you pregnant as long as possible, but at any stage of pregnancy, a C-section may be necessary if you have dangerously heavy bleeding or if you and your baby are having problems.

How can I reduce my risk?

We don’t know how to prevent placenta previa, but you may be able to reduce your risk by not smoking or doing illicit drugs such as cocaine. If you have a healthy pregnancy, and there isn’t a medical reason for you to have a C-section, it’s best to let labor begin on its own. The more C-sections you have, the greater your risk of placenta previa.

As soon as my mom held me in her arms, she said she forgot all about the scary hours beforehand. She was so grateful that she had gone to the hospital when she did.

Remember, if you have spotting or bleeding at any point in your pregnancy, call your provider right away or go to the emergency room.

Reasons you may need a c-section

Friday, April 10th, 2015

There are times when your health care provider may recommend a cesarean section (also called c-section). If there are problems with your pregnancy or during labor, you may need to have a c-section to keep you and your baby safe.

In this video of Dr. Siobhan Dolan discusses some of the medical reasons why a c-section may be necessary and what you can expect.

New guidelines on vaginal birth after c-section

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

It used to be that once you had a c-section, you’d always have a c-section. Now, health experts are rethinking this idea and believe that many women may be able to safely have a vaginal birth after a c-section (called VBAC).

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists today released guidelines to make it easier for more women to have VBACs by encouraging health providers to consider VBACs as an option for healthy pregnant women. In fact, about 6 to 8 out of 10 women who try a VBAC are successful in having a vaginal birth. Even women who are carrying twins and had more than one c-section in the past may be able to have a VBAC safely.

While there may be some risks in doing a VBAC (as with childbirth in general), it can be safe for many healthy women and their babies. The benefits of having a VBAC include a lower chance of infection, blood loss or other health complications associated with c-sections as well as a shorter recovery time after giving birth. You’re more likely to have a successful VBAC if:
• Your c-section cut was made in the lower part of the uterus
• Your health and baby’s health are well during pregnancy.
• Your labor starts on its own and continues naturally at 37 to 40 weeks of pregnancy.

If you had a c-section and are pregnant again, talk to your health provider to see if a VBAC is the right choice for you.

Diabetes and pregnancy

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

You may have heard us say it before, but it’s worth saying it again – having a healthy baby starts BEFORE pregnancy! There are so many factors about mom’s health before and during pregnancy that affect how healthy her baby will be. That’s why it’s important for all women to take care of themselves and live a healthy lifestyle. This is especially true for women living with diabetes.

The USA Today published an article last week on this very topic. In fact, nearly 9 out of 100 women in the United States have diabetes. But, about 3 out of those 9 don’t know it. Managing diabetes before pregnancy (often called “preexisting diabetes”) is important to the health of both mom and baby. This is also true for women who develop gestational diabetes (when diabetes develops during pregnancy). If too much glucose (sugar) is in a woman’s blood during early pregnancy, there’s a chance that this can cause birth defects. In later pregnancy, too much glucose could lead to a baby that is too large, born prematurely, born via c-section or have other life-threatening situations.

But there is good news! By learning how to manage your diabetes before and during pregnancy, you can increase the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby. Here’s a few things you can do right now:
Visit your health provider regularly before and during pregnancy
• Take a multivitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid
• Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
• With your health provider’s OK, be active and exercise
• Learn more about managing pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes.

If I’ve had a c-section, can I deliver the old-fashioned way next time?

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

wondering-smallMany, many moms ask this question. So you’re in a big club!

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, many women who have had a c-section can safely have a vaginal birth the next time.

But as Time magazine recently pointed out, finding a health care provider to deliver the baby the old-fashioned way can be challenging.

If you’re interested in delivering vaginally after c-section, talk to your health care provider early. Learn about the risks and benefits of both types of delivery.

If you’ve had a vaginal birth after c-section, or if you wanted to, please tell us about your experience.

For more about c-section for medical reasons, read the March of Dimes article.

Elective C-sections and premature babies

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

During the third trimester of pregnancy there are numerous changes occurring to help the body prepare for labor and delivery. Some mother’s may have conflicting emotional feelings about their pregnancy during this time, too. It is not uncommon to hear women say that they are done being pregnant. This doesn’t mean that they do not want or love their baby. The combination of physical discomfort, exhaustion and concerns about labor and delivery are real and can be overwhelming — sometimes to the point where they’ll consider a Cesarean delivery for relief.

Pregnancy is a stressful time for many women and coping isn’t always easy, but opting for an elective C-section is definitely not the answer. An elective C-section is done before labor begins, whether or not it is medically indicated. Preterm birth is on the rise and experts agree that the increased rate of elective C-sections may be responsible. Preterm babies are more likely to have medical problems than those born full term.

If your healthcare provider is the one recommending a Cesarean delivery make sure you ask why and what will happen if you choose not to. You want to be sure that surgical procedures are performed out of necessity and not convenience.

If you are feeling overwhelmed about your pregnancy reach out to your health care provider, family and friends for advice and support. Explore creative ways of managing discomfort and stress through meditation, yoga, counseling, swimming, writing in a journal, listening to music, gardening, napping or visiting with loved ones. Have you registered for your childbirth education course yet? If not, this is a wonderful opportunity to socialize with other expecting women who are most likely experiencing similar changes and emotions.

Hang in there as best you can. After all, nine months is the best gift you can give your baby.

Posted by Anne