Placenta Previa

August 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Placenta Previa

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What is Placenta Previa?

Placenta previa is a condition where the placenta is close to the cervix, or covers the opening of the cervix.

There are three forms of placenta previa: marginal, partial, and total.

Marginal Placenta Previa

Marginal placenta previa is where the placenta is on the edge of the opening of the cervix. During labor it is possible that the placenta could move up to allow a vaginal delivery.

Partial Placenta Previa

Partial placenta previa is when the placenta partially covers the opening to the cervix. This could cause hemorrhaging during labor.

Total Placenta Previa

Total placenta previa is when the placenta completely covers the opening to the cervix, making it impossible to have a vaginal delivery.

What are the Risk Factors for Developing Placenta Previa?

Women are at a greater risk of developing placenta previa when:

  • they have had children before
  • have had a previous caesarian birth
  • have had a previous induced abortion
  • are smokers
  • are over the age of 35

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Placenta Previa?

Placenta previa is most typically diagnosed after painless bleeding. It does not generally occur until near the end of the second trimester or after.

Blood from placenta previa is usually bright red, may be heavy, and may start and stop.

How is Placenta Previa Diagnosed?

Placenta previa is most often diagnosed by ultrasound.

What is the Treatment for Placenta Previa?

If you are diagnosed with placenta previa, you may be advised to have bed rest at home.

In the event that you are having bleeding that cannot be controlled, you may need to have a caesarian right away. Sometimes it is necessary to perform a caesarian birth preterm because a placenta that is bleeding is not able to support the baby properly.

If you are having any bleeding during the second or third trimester, you should contact your health care provider immediately for evaluation, even if the bleeding is intermittent.

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