Your Placenta Previa Pregnancy: What It Means

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When you become pregnant, a placenta will form in your uterus. The placenta provides the baby with oxygen and nutrients and is connected to your baby via the umbilical cord. Placenta is often referred to as afterbirth. Once your baby is born, the placenta will be expelled soon after.

If your placenta implants very low in your uterus, and either partially or entirely covers your cervix (the opening to the birth canal), you have a condition called placenta previa. Obstetrician/gynecologist Katherine Bachman, MD, describes the condition.

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You likely won’t know you have placenta previa. It’s usually discovered when you have your second trimester ultrasound. Bleeding is the most common symptom. Dr. Bachman explains what you can expect.

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Doctors aren’t sure what causes placenta previa. Dr. Bachman explains that your risk may be increased under certain conditions.

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Placenta previa occurs in about 1 in 200 pregnancies. Severe bleeding sometimes occurs with the condition, which can put both mom and baby at risk of dying. That’s why your doctor likely will prescribe bed rest or reducing your activities, and pelvic rest (no sex, tampons, or douching). Other treatment options which your doctor may consider include:

  • Blood transfusion
  • Medicine to prevent early labor
  • Medicine to help your pregnancy last to at least 36 weeks
  • Steroids to help your baby’s lungs mature
  • If bleeding becomes severe, an emergency C-section may be necessary.

If you’re pregnant and notice bleeding, be sure to contact your doctor. 

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.