What are the symptoms of placenta previa?

The symptoms of placenta previa are symptoms indicative of placenta previa, a complication of pregnancy in which the placenta is too close to or over the cervix. This can pose serious problems during labor and delivery. The key symptom is bleeding after the 20th week of pregnancy. Women who notice bleeding or spotting during pregnancy should contact their doctors or midwives for evaluation and treatment, as bleeding may be associated with other pregnancy complications and is cause for concern.

In patients with placenta previa, the placenta does not implant in the correct place. It grows on or very close to the cervix. In women with this complication of pregnancy, special care should be taken during labor and delivery to identify and address fetal distress. In some cases, women may need to deliver early by cesarean section to protect the health of the fetus.

Bleeding in the late second and early third trimesters is one of the most common symptoms of placenta previa. The blood is usually bright red and can be mild to severe. In typical cases, the bleeding resolves on its own and then recurs, and may be intermittent. Women may not experience pain in some cases, while other women may experience painful uterine contractions, backaches, and abdominal pain. In some cases, there is concern that a woman may go into preterm labor and if symptoms of placenta previa are identified, steps can be taken such as encouraging a woman to rest in bed for safety.

During prenatal exams, symptoms of placenta previa such as a breech baby and unusually large uterine measurements may also be seen. Ultrasound exams can reveal that the placenta is out of place and provide more information about the severity of placenta previa. Ultrasound examinations are usually recommended if placenta previa symptoms such as bleeding are noted in order to correct the diagnosis of the condition and gather information about the health of the fetus and the precise position of the placenta.

Women with placenta previa may have a vaginal delivery, depending on the position of the placenta and the way the fetus is lying down. In other cases, a cesarean section may be recommended for delivery. Concerns with placenta previa include bleeding during labor and delivery, as well as health risks for the baby. An obstetrician who specializes in high-risk pregnancies is usually consulted to provide proper care for the patient and fetus.

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