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Placenta Previa

What Is Placenta Previa?

Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta covers part of the cervix during pregnancy. The placenta is usually attached to the top or side of the uterus. While the cause of placenta previa is unknown, it’s important to be aware of symptoms and associated risk factors. 

Placenta Previa Risk Factors and Prevention

Since the cause of placenta previa is unknown, there is no way to fully prevent it during your pregnancy, but there are common risk factors to be aware of. If you are a woman who:

  • Smokes
  • Is older than 35
  • Has scars on the uterus
  • Has previously had a baby
  • Uses cocaine

These risk factors may increase your chance of developing placenta previa. 

Types of Placenta Previa

There are three different types of placenta previa: complete previa, partial previa and marginal previa.

  • Complete placenta previa occurs when the placenta is completely covering the cervix.
  • Partial placenta previa is when placenta is partially covering the cervix.
  • Marginal placenta previa is near the cervix opening but not covering it. 

Discuss your diagnosis with your doctor to determine next steps to ensure for a safe delivery.

Signs and Symptoms of Placenta Previa

Placenta previa can be difficult to diagnose without testing. Signs of placenta previa may include bleeding during the second and third trimester. Call your doctor if you start to notice bleeding, or head to the hospital as soon as possible. 

Placenta Previa Testing and Diagnosis

Your doctor can detect placenta previa with an ultrasound during one of your routine appointments. Your doctor may prescribe more ultrasounds during your pregnancy to see if placenta previa resolves on its own.

Placenta Previa Treatment and Support

Once diagnosed with placenta previa, it is important to keep you and baby safe during the rest of the pregnancy and during labor. Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy will determine the treatment. If you are still in your second or third trimester with bleeding, your doctor will need to monitor you at the hospital. The goal during this time is to get you as close to a full-term pregnancy as possible.

If you are close to your due date and placenta previa has not resolved on its own, treatments usually include a c-section for childbirth to ensure you and baby are safe during delivery.

Count on the experts at Banner Health to support you throughout this process. Contact us with any questions during this journey.