The UK registered charity was set up because every year in the UK, this obstetric condition will affect approximately 555 pregnancies (more than one per day).
So….what is Vasa Praevia?
Vasa Praevia occurs when one or more of the baby’s placental or umbilical blood vessels across the entrance to the birth canal beneath the baby.
When the cervix dilates or the membranes rupture, the unprotected vessels can tear, causing rapid fetal haemorrhage.
When the baby drops into the pelvis, the vessels can be compressed, compromising the baby’s blood supply and causing oxygen deprivation.
During my pregnancy with my youngest Katie I was diagnosed with a low lying placenta at my 20 week scan. From here I was referred for another scan at 32 weeks where the sonographer noted that I potentially had Vasa Praevia and I was referred to a specialist. Our consultant was a Mr Sheridan at Watford General Hospital who laughed at the thought that I had Vasa Praevia as it was rare (very unprofessional).
From here he said I didn’t have it but just to be sure I should be induced for natural birth at 37 weeks. This was where I contacted Vasa Praevia UK and also joined their facebook page. It was on this website and page that I spoke to Daren (Head of VPRA) and Meridith (USA mum who has had VP with her little one) who armed me with everything I needed to know that I used to push for the correct diagnosis and treatment.
After pushing to change consultants I was finally diagnosed at 37 weeks and was sent for an immediate c-section. Being referred by my first consultant for a natural birth was the wrong treatment as the pressure of the contractions and birth can cause the vessels to rupture.
My little girl was born and I was told she was ‘shocked’ and therefore she needed to spend time in the Special Care Baby Unit and required anti-biotics for an infection, CPAP to help her breathe and an UV light to help her jaundice.
Without VPRA UK and my second consultant we may not have been so lucky.
If you have any questions on Vasa Praevia or would like to know more information please have a look at their website: www.vasapraevia.co.uk/