Placenta Previa

What is Placenta Previa

Placenta previa is when the placenta grows over the cervix thereby covering it. It is usually diagnosed during a second trimester ultrasound exam and is more common when one is having a multiple pregnancy, has had surgery to remove uterine fibroids or a C-section, is over 35 years of age, smokes and/ or if one has had children before. In some cases, the expansion of the uterus pulls the placenta away from the cervix thereby resolving the situation. Placenta previa may cause severe, life threatening bleeding which may prompt preterm birth through C-section or bleeding during labor or in the first few hours after delivery.


Bright red bleeding during the second half of pregnancy which normally disappears on its own but returns after a few days is a sign of placenta previa. Bleeding at any point during pregnancy is a cause for concern. Seek medical help.


If you have been diagnosed with placenta previa but have little or no bleeding the doctor will advise you to take some bed rest. Exercise and sex are usually off limits as they may cause bleeding and if the cervix is only partially covered then you may attempt a vaginal delivery depending on how far along you are. For heavy bleeding you may be given a blood transfusion to replace lost blood and put on hospital bed rest. if you have not reached 36 weeks you may be given corticosteroids to speed up the development of baby’s lungs then have a C-section. After 36 weeks the baby can be delivered safely through C-section. If the bleeding is very severe you may have a C-section even if baby is preterm and they will be given appropriate care.


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