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Placenta Previa

What Is Placenta Previa?

The placenta usually forms near the top or on the side of the uterus and provides food and oxygen to your baby as he or she develops. A diagnosis of placenta previa means that the placenta has attached on the lower side of the uterus and either partially or fully covers the cervix, the baby's doorway to the birth canal.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Placenta Previa

The most common symptom of placenta previa is light to heavy bleeding in the second half of pregnancy. Placenta previa is often diagnosed during the second trimester ultrasound.

Those most likely to develop placenta previa include:

  • Mothers of multiples – with more babies growing in the womb, the placenta must be larger and will take up more space in the uterus, increasing the chance that it will cover some portion of the cervix
  • Mothers who have experienced placenta previa with a prior pregnancy
  • Mothers who have had surgery on their uterus, including a prior Caesarian (C-section) or surgery to remove uterine fibroids
  • Mothers age 35 and older
  • Mothers who smoke

It is possible for placenta previa to fix itself during the remainder of your pregnancy. As the uterus expands, the placenta may be pulled away from the cervix, fixing the problem.

The main concerns with placenta previa are bleeding and premature birth. Placenta previa is not necessarily life threatening for a mother or a baby, but is important that the condition be diagnosed and the mother be monitored for signs of severe bleeding before, during and after delivery. If you have been diagnosed with placenta previa, it is likely that you will be on bed rest for a portion of your pregnancy.

Placenta previa may increase the chances that your baby will have to be delivered early. If severe bleeding develops, an emergency C-section may be necessary to prevent serious injury to both the mother and the newborn.

Misdiagnosis of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy can mean that placenta previa goes undetected. If that happens, mother and baby may lose the opportunity to prevent early labor and delivery and the birthing team may be unaware of the heightened risk of severe bleeding.

Diagnosing Placenta Previa May Prevent Injury

Placenta previa is a natural occurrence. It is not the result of a mistake by your doctor or birthing team. However, harm that results from undiagnosed placenta previa such as failing to monitor a postpartum mother for signs of serious, life-threatening bleeding may be medical malpractice. Recognizing signs of placenta previa and taking the necessary steps to safely deliver your baby, including recommending a C-section, are the responsibilities of your doctor and your birthing team.

The Birth Injury Team is a subsidiary of Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., made up of experienced attorneys and medical professionals. Our lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience handling birth injury cases. We are dedicated to helping parents understand their child's condition and guiding them through the process of securing the care and support they need. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients across the United States.


Located in Philadelphia, Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., home of MyPhillyLawyer, serves clients in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States.

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