About Birth Injuries Caused by Placenta Previa

Placenta PreviaPlacenta previa is the abnormal implantation of the placenta over the opening to the cervix in the later stages of pregnancy.  There are four categories of placenta previa:  complete (where the opening is entirely covered); partial (where a portion of the opening is covered); marginal (where the edge of the placenta reaches the margin of the cervix); and low-lying (where the placenta is implanted close to the cervix, but does not reach it).

Risk Factors for Placenta Previa

Placenta previa occurs in one out of every 200 pregnancies.  Women are more likely to experience this complication if they have:

    • Many prior pregnancies
    • Large/abnormal placenta
    • Smoking
    • Uterine scarring because of prior cesarean section or abortion
    • Prior placenta previa

Diagnosing and Treating Placenta Previa

Nurses and obstetricians must use ultrasound to rule out placenta previa when expectant mothers have symptoms, including cramping and vaginal bleeding.  Bleeding usually occurs after 28 weeks.

When a placenta previa is suspected, health care providers should avoid direct vaginal examination because the exam can cause the placenta to separate and trigger severe bleeding.

There are several treatments that may be used for patients with placenta previa.  Some women are treated with pelvic rest and modified bed rest.  Hospital admission is typically considered after some amount of bleeding.  To preserve the life and health of the baby, emergency cesarean section is required if labor can’t be stopped, if there is uncontrollable bleeding, or if the baby is in distress.  In the case of premature infants, special measures may need to be taken, including evaluation of the baby’s lung maturity and drugs to prevent early labor.  The largest risk to mother and child is that of uncontrolled bleeding, which can be fatal in less than 15 minutes.  Physicians should be prepared to provide blood transfusions.

Contact Us

If your doctors failed to properly manage placenta previa during your labor and delivery, contact our birth injury malpractice lawyers at (855) 712-7818, or send us a confidential, no-risk e-mail through our website.

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Photo by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Placta_prv.jpg (attribution:  Sigrid de Rooij)