Placenta previa refers to the position of the placenta. The placenta attaches to a portion of the uterus early in pregnancy. Placenta previa means that the placenta is situated directly over the cervix. The greatest risk associated with placenta previa involves vaginal bleeding from the placenta as the cervix dilates. This situation may be life-threatening for both the mother and the fetus.

Early in pregnancy, such as at 20 weeks, placenta previa is usually not a problem. The cervix usually remains tightly closed early in pregnancy, therefore no significant risk of bleeding exists. The placenta often migrates away from the cervix as the uterus grows. Therefore, someone with placenta previa at 20 weeks often does not have placenta previa 4 to 8 weeks later.

If your follow-up ultrasounds show persistent placenta previa, then your pregnancy will be followed closely. Although a high-risk specialist might be recommended by some physicians, this is not imperative. If you continue to have complete placenta previa, your physician will continue to watch you very closely until late in pregnancy. At that time, it will be necessary to deliver your baby by cesarean section. The timing of your c-section will vary from physician to physician, and may be as early as 36 weeks or as late as your due date.