Placenta Previa is a condition where the placenta lies low in the uterus and partially or
completely covers the cervix. The placenta may separate from the uterine wall as the cervix begins to dilate (open)
How common is placenta previa?
Placenta previa affects about 1 in 200 pregnant women in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Placenta previa is more common in women who have had one or more of the following:
More than one child
A cesarean birth
Surgery on the uterus
Twins or triplets
What are the different types of placenta previa?
Complete previa: the cervical opening is completely covered
Partial previa: a portion of the cervix is covered by the placenta
Marginal previa: extends just to the edge of the cervix
What are the symptoms of placenta previa?
Signs and symptoms of placenta previa vary, but the most common symptom is painless bleeding
during the third trimester. Other reasons to suspect placenta previa would be:
Baby is breech, or in transverse position
Uterus measures larger than it should according to gestational age
What is the treatment for placenta previa?
Once diagnosed, placenta previa will usually require bed rest for the mother and frequent
hospital visits. Depending on the gestational age, steroid shots may be given to help mature the baby's lungs. If
the bleeding cannot be controlled, an immediate cesarean delivery is usually done regardless of the length of the
pregnancy. Some marginal previas can be delivered vaginally, although complete or partial
previas would require a cesarean delivery.
Most physicians recommend women who are experiencing placenta previa
Avoid pelvic exams
What causes placenta previa?
The exact cause of placenta previa is unknown. However, the following can increase your
How do I cope with placenta previa?
With all the excitement and anticipation of a healthy delivery, receiving the diagnosis of
placenta previa can be a very shocking and frustrating experience. There are support groups for bed rest mothers
and even some for mothers with placenta previa. They are available to help you through this difficult time. Your
doctor, midwife, or doula should be able to assist you with finding support groups or other women who have also had