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Placenta Previa

Pregnancy Complications: Placenta Previa

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With placenta previa, the placenta covers part or all of the cervix. About one in 250 pregnant women develop this complication, which can cause severe, often painless bleeding usually toward the end of the second trimester or later.

If the bleeding doesn't stop or if placenta previa causes preterm labor, the baby is normally delivered by c-section even if a woman's due date is weeks away.

If an early ultrasound (between 12 and 14 weeks) shows the placenta near, or covering the cervix, don't be alarmed — it is most likely not placenta previa. As the uterus grows, it naturally pulls the placenta away from the cervix; in these cases, medical intervention generally is not  necessary.

Warning Signs

Painless vaginal bleeding during your second or third trimester can give some clues to the problem, and if this happens you should call your doctor or midwife immediately. But in many instances, there are no warning signs. In fact, most cases of placenta previa are noticed during routine ultrasound exams.

The Treatment

Treatment depends on each situation and whether you're bleeding and how far along you are in your pregnancy. If the condition is diagnosed after the 20th week, but you're not bleeding, you will probably be asked to cut back on your activity level and increase the amount of time you spend in bed or in some cases you will be put on strict bed rest. If you're bleeding heavily, you'll have to be hospitalized until you and the baby have been stabilized. If the bleeding stops or is light you'll have to continue bed rest until the baby is ready to deliver.

 

 


 
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