What Most Don’t Know About Placenta Previa

Sep 01, 2023

 What Most Don’t Know About Placenta Previa
Whether you’re already expecting or still planning, it’s best to have all the information upfront. In this blog, we discuss the basics of placenta previa, a pregnancy complication that can significantly impact you and your baby if left unchecked.

Though wonderful and natural, pregnancy and childbirth can be incredibly delicate and complicated, many things must come together to create the right situation for you and your baby to be healthy for your pregnancy. 

That’s why pregnancy and delivery complications are still a concern, even for those with access to the best modern medicine has to offer. 

So, Dr. Joseph Roofeh and our team want to ensure you have everything you need to make informed decisions about your family’s health and well-being. 

Starting with the basics

Before we dive into what can go wrong, we need to establish a baseline for what’s considered healthy and normal during pregnancy. 

When you’re pregnant, your body “grows” another organ called the placenta. The placenta develops and lives with your growing baby attached to the wall of your uterus, supplying your baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord and removing waste.

Normally, the placenta fixes itself to the top, side, front, or back of your uterus. 

When things go wrong

When the placenta lies very low in your uterus and covers part or all of your cervix, you have placenta previa. This is a problem for both you and your baby. 

Some risks for you include bleeding, early labor, blood loss, placenta accrete, and placental abruption. Your baby may experience premature birth, low birth weight, and respiratory issues. 

It’s not exactly understood how and why placenta previa happens, but some factors can contribute to an increased risk. 

How and why placental problems happen

With so much to think about during pregnancy (especially if you already have a few kids), many women aren’t aware of the placental problems that can crop up even if you think you’re perfectly healthy. 

Some factors that contribute to placental problems include:

  • Your age
  • Premature water break
  • High blood pressure
  • Being pregnant with multiple children
  • Blood-clotting disorders
  • Previous uterine surgery
  • Previous placental problems
  • Substance use
  • Abdominal trauma

If you plan on becoming pregnant soon, talking to Dr. Roofeh about your entire health history is crucial to helping us identify those risk factors for placenta problems. 

Here are a few other common facts about placenta previa you should be aware of. 

Placenta previa causes symptoms

Thankfully, placenta previa rarely goes unnoticed. One of the most common symptoms of placenta previa is painless vaginal bleeding during the second half of your pregnancy. Some women with placenta previa don’t have any bleeding, but it will show up on a routine ultrasound. 

Always call our team if you notice any bleeding or pain at any point during your pregnancy. 

Placenta previa may resolve on its own

As your uterus grows, the distance between your cervix and placenta may increase, the direction of the growth of the placenta may be higher in the uterus, and the edges of the placenta near your cervix may shrink. 

In short, there’s a good chance that placenta previa will go away on its own, especially if we diagnose it early on. 

If it does resolve on its own, you may likely be able to have a vaginal delivery; otherwise, you should expect to need a Cesarean section (C-section). 

Placenta previa treatment depends on your symptoms

Vaginal bleeding after 20 weeks is considered a medical emergency. In that case, you and your baby are usually admitted and kept under closer surveillance. At 36 weeks, a C-section may be necessary to keep you and your baby safe. 

If you’re not bleeding, we aim to lower your risk for bleeding as much as possible and keep your baby in utero as long as possible. Typically that means avoiding:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Exercise
  • Lifting
  • Standing for long periods

Few things in life are more precious to a woman than pregnancy and childbirth — but they don’t always come easy. Fortunately, Dr. Roofeh and our team are here for you and your family every step of the way to help you navigate the choppy waters of placental problems. 

If you’re pregnant or planning to be and are concerned about your risk for placenta previa, don’t wait to get help. Call or click to schedule an appointment today.