Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Treatment for placenta previa depends on various factors, including:

  • The amount of vaginal bleeding
  • Whether the bleeding has stopped
  • How far along you are in your pregnancy
  • Your health
  • Your baby's health
  • The position of the placenta and the baby

For little or no bleeding

If you have little or no bleeding, your health care provider may recommend bed rest at home. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to lie in bed most of the time — sitting and standing only when necessary. You'll need to avoid sex, which can trigger bleeding. Exercise is usually off-limits, too. Be prepared to seek emergency medical care if you begin to bleed.

If the placenta doesn't completely cover your cervix, you may be allowed to attempt a vaginal delivery. If you begin to bleed heavily, you may need an emergency C-section.

For heavy bleeding

If you're bleeding, you may need bed rest in the hospital. If the bleeding is severe, you may need a blood transfusion to replace lost blood. You may also benefit from medications to prevent premature labor.

Your health care provider will likely plan a C-section as soon as the baby can be safely delivered, ideally after 36 weeks of pregnancy. If it's not possible to wait, you will need an earlier C-section. In this case, you may be given corticosteroids to speed your baby's lung development.

For bleeding that won't stop

If your bleeding can't be controlled or your baby is in distress, you may need an emergency C-section — even if the baby is premature.

Jun. 02, 2011