Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
If you've been pregnant for more than 12 weeks and you develop any vaginal bleeding, call your pregnancy health care provider. He or she may recommend immediate medical care — depending on your symptoms, your personal health 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 immediately. However, if your appointment will be delayed for a day or two, ask whether you should restrict your activity while you wait to come in.
- Arrange to bring a family member or friend. The fear you may be feeling about bleeding during pregnancy can make it difficult to focus on what your health care provider says. Take someone along who can help listen to all the information.
- Write down your questions. Creating your list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your health care provider.
Below are some basic questions to ask your health care provider about placenta previa. If any additional questions occur to you during your visit, don't hesitate to ask.
- Do I have placenta previa?
- Is there a chance it could resolve on its own?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- What follow-up care will I need during the rest of my pregnancy?
- Is there anything I can do to help prolong my pregnancy?
- Do I need to be on bed rest? For how long?
- What signs or symptoms, if they occur, should cause me to call you?
- What signs or symptoms, if they occur, should cause me to go to the hospital?
- Will I be able to deliver vaginally?
- Does this condition increase the risk of complications during future pregnancies?
What to expect from your doctor
Your health care provider is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- When did you first 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 any pain or contractions?
- Have you had any previous pregnancies that I'm not aware of?
- Have you had any uterine surgeries that I'm not aware of, including C-section, fibroid removal or dilation and curettage (D&C) 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 friends or family nearby who could care for you if you need bed rest?
- Kay HH. Placenta previa and abruption. In: Gibbs RS, et al. Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008. http://www.danforthsobgyn.com. Accessed March 29, 2011.
- Bleeding during pregnancy. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp038.cfm. Accessed March 29, 2011.
- Houry DE, et al. Vaginal bleeding in later pregnancy. In: Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Williams DE, et al. Placenta previa. In: Rakel RE. Textbook of Family Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191205553-4/0/1481/0.html#. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Ramin KD, et al. Placenta previa. In: Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..C2009-0-38984-9--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0986-5&about=true&uniqId=236797353-5. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Lockwood CJ, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of placenta previa. http://uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Lockwood CJ, et al. Management of placenta previa. http://uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 30, 2011.