Symptoms of placenta previa

Medically Reviewed by Dr Sravya, MBBS, MS 


Placenta Previa is the situation in which the placenta fully or slightly gets over the internal os of the cervix. It is a serious risk factor in postpartum hemorrhage and can cause morbidity and mortality of both the mother and neonate. This situation does not allow a safe vaginal delivery, and if the mother has symptoms of placenta Previa, it requires the delivery of the neonate to be via cesarean delivery.

symptoms of placenta previa

Placenta Previa occurs in about 1 in every 200 pregnant women. The risk of symptoms of placenta Previa increases with age, smoking, and having a previous cesarean delivery. It is more common in those women who have had pregnancies several times. The severity of placenta Previa ranges from mild to severe.

In severe cases of placenta Previa, the placenta may cover the entire cervix, making it more difficult and almost impossible for the baby to pass through the birth canal. There is a high risk of severe bleeding, placenta accreta, and preterm birth in women who have developed placenta previa.

If the mother has symptoms of low-lying placenta at 32 weeks, scan cesarean delivery is advised.

Types of Placenta Previa

There are three types of Placenta Previa:

1. Marginal placenta Previa: The placenta gets placed at the edge of the cervix. It touches the cervix but does not cover it. This type is more likely to resolve on its own before your baby’s due date. Also called low-lying placenta symptoms.
2. Partial placenta Previa: In this condition, the placenta partially covers the cervix.
3. Complete or total placenta Previa: In this, the placenta completely covers the cervix. It blocks the vagina. This type of placenta Previa is less likely to correct on its own.


The exact cause of developing placenta Previa is unknown. However, some factors can contribute to the development of placenta previa, including:

Placenta Previa Signs and Symptoms

It is important to note that not all women with this condition will experience placenta Previa signs and symptoms. Some women may have no symptoms at all until they go into labour.

1. Bright red vaginal bleeding:

This is the most common symptom of placenta Previa and is usually painless.
The bleeding can start suddenly or gradually, and it can be light or heavy. It may come up with contractions, or it may start without any   warning.

The bleeding is a bright red color because the blood is fresh and has not had time to clot.
The bleeding occurs because the placenta comes on the lower side of the uterus and is near or covering the cervix. At the time when the cervix starts to dilate in preparation for labor, the placenta can tear or bleed.

Some tips to avoid this:

2. Mild cramps or contractions in the abdomen, belly, or back:

This is another common thing in symptoms of placenta Previa. The cramping is usually not that severe and may not be felt by all women.

The cramping is caused because the placenta puts pressure on the cervix and the muscles of the uterus.

Some tips to avoid these cramps and contractions:

3. Pressure in your lower back:

This is a less common symptom of placenta Previa. It is caused by the weight of the baby putting pressure on the placenta.

The pressure may be felt in the area of the lower back, sacrum, or hips. It may be constant and recurrent. It may be mild or severe. It can be accompanied by bleeding or other symptoms.

If the pressure becomes severe or if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as bleeding, you should seek medical attention immediately.

some tips to relieve pressure in your lower back during pregnancy:

4. Light spotting:

This is a very less common symptom of placenta Previa. It is usually not a cause for concern, but important to tell your doctor about it.

The spotting may be pink, brown, or red. If the spotting becomes heavier or if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as bleeding, you need to get medical help.

some tips to prevent light spotting in the placenta Previa:

5. Painful intercourse:

This is a less common symptom of placenta Previa. It is caused by the cervix pressing on the placenta.

some tips to relieve painful intercourse during pregnancy:


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