Preparing for your appointment

If you've been pregnant for more than 12 weeks and you develop vaginal bleeding, call your pregnancy health care provider. He or she may recommend immediate medical care, depending on your symptoms, your medical history and how far along you are in the pregnancy.

What you can do

Before your appointment, you may want to:

  • Ask about pre-appointment restrictions. In most cases, you'll be seen quickly if you have a diagnosis of placenta previa. However, if your appointment will be delayed, ask whether you should restrict your activity in the meantime.
  • Arrange to bring a family member or friend. Someone who's with you can help you gather and remember information.
  • Write down your questions. Having a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your health care provider.

Basic questions about placenta previa to ask your health care provider include:

  • If I have placenta previa, is there a chance it could resolve on its own?
  • How will my bleeding be managed?
  • What follow-up care will I need during the rest of my pregnancy?
  • What activity restrictions do I need? For how long?
  • What signs or symptoms should prompt me to call you?
  • What signs or symptoms should cause me to go to the hospital?
  • Will I be able to deliver vaginally?
  • Does this condition increase my risk of complications during future pregnancies?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your health care provider is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:

  • When did you notice vaginal bleeding?
  • Did you bleed only once, or has the bleeding come and gone?
  • How heavy is the bleeding?
  • Is the bleeding accompanied by pain or contractions?
  • Have you had previous pregnancies I'm not aware of?
  • Have you had uterine surgeries, including C-section, fibroid removal, or dilation and curettage after a miscarriage or abortion?
  • Do you or did you smoke? How much?
  • How far do you live from the hospital?
  • How long would it take to get to the hospital in an emergency, including time to arrange child care and transportation?
  • Do you have someone who could care for you if you need bed rest?
May 17, 2017
  1. Lockwood CJ, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis, and course of placenta previa. Accessed Feb. 3, 2017.
  2. Frequently asked questions. Pregnancy FAQ038. Bleeding during pregnancy. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Accessed Feb. 3, 2017.
  3. Lockwood CJ, et al. Management of placenta previa. Accessed Feb. 3, 2017.
  4. Placenta previa. March of Dimes. Accessed Feb. 3, 2017.
  5. Placenta previa. Merck Manual Professional Version. Accessed Feb. 3, 2017.
  6. Butler Tobah YS (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Accessed March 1, 2017.