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Ultrasound shows partial placenta previa

Anne Sommers, Licensed Midwife


Q I'm 18 weeks pregnant and I just had an ultrasound. The report the technician gave me says that the ultrasound "shows partial placenta previa." I have read something about placenta previa, and my question is this: at what point in my pregancy can they say with certainty that placenta previa will be a definite problem? I understand that the placenta can "migrate" away from the cervix as the pregnancy progresses. Is this likely happen between now (18 weeks) and the end of my pregnancy? If so, how likely or unlikely is it? I'm scheduled for another ultrasound in 10 weeks. At that point, will they be able to say for sure that there's a problem? Naturally, I'm a little concerned.

A It is good that your ultrasound is scheduled in 10 weeks. A lot can happen during that time. Most likely your placenta will have grown away from the cervix, where the blood supply will be much better. The odds for this are in your favor. There are degrees of placenta previa. The most drastic is when the placental completely covers the cervical os. When the cervix thins and dilates (later in pregnancy and during labor) there is much bleeding which is dangerous for both mother and baby. A ceserean-section would be required.

However, there are low lying placentas (that go to the cervix but do not cover it and a vaginal delivery would be safe)

A marginal placenta previas takes a very sophisticated ultrasound and a good technician to determine. In the case of a marginal or partial placenta previa, you may be allowed to deliver vaginally and would be continuously monitored in labor. A any sign of separation or hemmorhage would require an immediate ceserean-section.

Best wishes
Anne Sommers

Click here to Ask Anne your pregnancy questions

Anne Sommers, LM is a Licensed Midwife in Southern California and founder of Agape Perinatal Consultation & Birthing Services. Anne has attended and personally delivered hundreds of beautiful bouncing babies in some very wonderful and natural settings -- like in the water! She has appeared on various Southern California radio and cable television shows, talked to birth organizations, was editor for several child birth publications and was the owner, editor and publisher of "Mom" Magazine, a quarterly publication in circulation for over seven years. She completed Seattle Midwifery School's Challenge Process and the NARM exam (supervised by the California Medical Board) qualifying her for midwifery licensure. Anne actually made history as noted in the Orange County Register for being one of Southern California's first Licensed Midwives. She is also the mother of two children, born at home, with the attendance of midwives. The Baby Corner The Baby Corner - The Magazine for Expecting & New Parents

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