Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Understanding Placenta Previa -- Diagnosis & Treatment

How Do I Know If I Have Placenta Previa?

If you have vaginal bleeding, your health care provider will do an ultrasound to look for problems with the placenta, including placenta previa. Most women with placenta previa have no bleeding and are usually diagnosed by a routine ultrasound exam early in pregnancy. If you start bleeding, your health care provider will probably not perform a cervical exam if placenta previa is suspected.

What Are the Treatments for Placenta Previa?

Because 90% of placenta previas early in pregnancy resolve on their own, early treatment is often not necessary unless there are other complications. You may be advised to abstain from intercourse. Your health care provider will usually repeat ultrasounds later in pregnancy to verify the position of the placenta. Women with placenta previa as their due date approaches nearly always give birth by cesarean delivery. If bleeding is severe, an emergency cesarean birth may be performed. Life threatening bleeding that continues after the baby is born may require a cesarean hysterectomy.

If bleeding is not extensive, your health care provider will prescribe close monitoring, either in the hospital or at home. In the hospital, the staff will be able to monitor the baby's heart rate and make sure that your blood loss is not affecting you or the fetus. If you are close to your due date, your health care provider may choose to do an amniocentesis to see if the baby is mature enough for delivery. Women with placenta previa usually have a cesarean delivery early, before their due date.

How Can I Prevent Placenta Previa?

Smokers are at increased risk of placenta previa, so it is advisable to reduce the danger by stopping smoking.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on March 12, 2015

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
healthtool pregnancy calendar
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy