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Placenta Previa - A Possible Reason for Miscarriage During Pregnancy

Updated on July 9, 2011

A placenta is an organ, which nourishes the baby during his/her development. Placenta is attached to uterus. During early stages of pregnancy, placenta is low lying, but as the baby and uterus grows, it comes in an upward and superior position, but sometimes this does not happens and the placenta lies below the baby, partially or totally blocking the opening of cervix. This condition is known as placenta previa or placental abruption or in simple words low-lying placenta during pregnancy. This complication happens once in every 100 pregnancies and is one of many possible reasons for miscarriage during pregnancy or an aborted pregnancy. According to the science of pregnancy, there are 3 positions that are considered as placenta previa:

Marginal Placenta Previa

First one is marginal where the placenta is low lying but is not covering opening of cervix.

Partial Placenta Previa

In the second position, the placenta covers up to half part of the opening of cervix.

Complete Placenta Previa

In this position, which is the most dangerous one, the placenta completely covers the opening of cervix and can become a possible reason for miscarriage or an unwanted abortion during pregnancy.

Smoking is a possible cause of placenta previa and should be avoided at the time of pregnancy. Smoking is detrimental to the health of baby and mother.
Smoking is a possible cause of placenta previa and should be avoided at the time of pregnancy. Smoking is detrimental to the health of baby and mother.

Who are at risk of developing placenta previa?

  1. The risk of placenta previa increases in women who have had multiple previous pregnancies having abnormally developed uterus-causing scarring of uterine wall.
  2. Also women who have had endometriosis during their previous pregnancies are at risk of developing placenta previa.
  3. Also, women who smoke or are caretakers or old patients are at risk of placenta previa.
  4. Also possible causes for low-lying placenta may be an abnormal development of placenta itself or because of some uterine abnormality of unknown etiology.

A placenta previa is a condition where the placenta is obstructing the opening of cervix sometimes causing miscarriage or abortion.
A placenta previa is a condition where the placenta is obstructing the opening of cervix sometimes causing miscarriage or abortion.

How placenta previa is detected?

A gynecologist detects placenta previa with ultrasound. It will come on the ultrasound as obstructing the opening of cervix either marginally, partially, or completely. If your problem is marginal or partial, your gynecologist will take necessary precautions for placenta previa in the early stages of pregnancy. The only symptom of placenta previa is that mother will experience painless bleeding, which will occur towards the end of second quarter or starting of third . When a gynecologist diagnoses placenta previa, she will usually recommend complete bedrest . Also, you cannot have sex or insert anything into vagina during that time period.

Positions of placenta previa
Positions of placenta previa
Preterm cesarean section for complete placenta previa
Preterm cesarean section for complete placenta previa

Though cases of placenta previa are rare at the time of delivery and most of the times placenta moves away on its own from opening of cervix before delivery but if you experience any vaginal bleeding during that time period, it is very important to consult your gynecologist immediately because there is a risk of preterm delivery, especially when there is vaginal bleeding. Most cases of placenta previa are treated by providing complete bedrest to the mother and also hospitalizing mother before the time of delivery and doing a cesarean section in a timely manner , but it is very very important to call your GYN if you experience any type of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy and before delivery because if it is caused by placenta previa, there could be a serious risk to the mother and baby if not treated in a timely manner. So at last I would say that placenta previa is a possible reason for miscarriage during pregnancy and should be avoided at any cost.

Vaginal bleeding is experienced because of placenta previa during pregnancy.
Vaginal bleeding is experienced because of placenta previa during pregnancy.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      ??????? ??? ????

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This scared me because I found out that I have placenta previa at 20wks my first sonogram. This is my 4th pregnancy and I didn't have any complications with any other but this one and im a nervous reck. I had all natural births and carried full term. People keeping saying its because of my age or because I waited 10yrs. I just pray that everything go well. This article is very helpful both my husband and I because doctors don't always tell you everything. Thank u

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I've chosen to follow you because of interesting articles such as this. I've had placenta previa two different times. The first time I was hospitalized for 3 months. When I was 6 mo. pregnant I hemoragged and had a c-section. The baby didn't live; she weighed only 1 lb. 1 1/2 oz. The second time the placenta moved although I felt that the Lord healed me. I was only 8 wks. pregnant and looking at bedrest the entire pregnancy. I received prayer and next day was fine, no cramping. My wonderful son is now 23 years old. Thank you for the great info!

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I am glad I was able to put up a useful article here.

    • profile image

      T Vyas  

      7 years ago

      Thanks for great information,as i m also carrying a baby of 3 months now so for my coming weeks it would stand a good piece of information

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you so much Mr. Muhammad Zubair Khan for your blessings and wishes. May Allah also help those who go through these problems. My blessings to you and everyone.

    • profile image

      Muhammad Zubair Khan  

      8 years ago

      Thanks a lot for nice and healthy information about the placenta previa.

      Allah bless on you on your great efforts for humans.

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks Mr. Amit Kumar for your comment.

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      @myownworld, you are right dear. I think I become upset unnecessarily. This is all number's game and we must just keep on doing our work. You are a great motivator and healer. Thank you so much for your help. Thanks for the respect friend.

      @Veronica, an unwanted miscarriage or abortion is really a sad thing for a family.

      We love our kids and we love them more than ourselves. Sometimes when we are depressed and worried, we shout at them but our kids are so much passionate about us that they keep on returning after being scolded and we feel sorry for what we did and take them in our arms and give them lots of love because they deserve the love and happiness which we provide them because they become the most important thing in our life.

      Then how a couple will feel their baby leaving this world and that's also so early when he/she has not even seen the sunlight or taken a breath of air of this world, so it is better to take prevention and consult a good OB-GYN and get all the routine tests done including ultrasound and lower abdominal examinations including examination of entire womb. Also x-rays are not allowed due to radiation and should not be done as they can cause injury and ultrasounds are safe enough. These routine examinations help us determine that all body parts of our baby are growing in proper manner and there is no threat to the baby or mother. These things when done under expert guidance help avoid serious cases like abortions or cesarean sections which have become very common these days.

      @Angela Harris, thanks a lot for having a look at this hub and learning something about this condition.

    • Angela Harris profile image

      Angela Harris 

      8 years ago from Around the USA

      This is an excellent hub. I have never heard of this medical condition before. Sad.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      You know Soni, there is so much that a woman can go through when they get pregnant - it amazes me! This was very well reasearched and I think that it will help those who may experinece this problem. I do appreciate how you express the importance of visiting your OBGYN regularly - in the hopes of doing all you can to prevent a miscarriage.

      I rated it up!

    • myownworld profile image


      8 years ago from uk

      See, now I genuinely think your hubs are all well researched and informative, so why on earth would your score fall?! Crazy number is all it is! (I personally hate it myself! And btw. I noticed it's gone well into the 90's again! yay!! Just keep writing.... you're doing great....and know you're a well loved and respected hubber here...! :) Rated sooo up...!

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi kvirrueta, Thank you so much for your comment and especially for the link. As you are trying to help other women who have had miscarriages, I will highlight your facebook fan page here:

      Also, I am a fan of this page now.

      @ocbill, thanks for your reply.

    • ocbill profile image


      8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      great information on a type of miscarriage cause.



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