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Natural Treatment for Placenta Previa


What is Placenta Previa?

Placenta previa occurs in about 1 out of every 200 pregnancies.  Many times, previa is detected in the third trimester, but it’s sometimes spotted at as early as 17 weeks usually either in a routine ultrasound or because some bleeding or pain is occurring.  In this condition the placenta lies low in the uterus and may grow to partially or completely cover the opening of the uterus, the cervix.

The concern with placenta previa is that the birth canal could be blocked by the placenta, either partially or completely.  It’s possible the placenta could be pulled from the uterine wall when the cervix dilates during labor.  This could cause bleeding and potentially be harmful to your baby, which is why unresolved placenta previa may result in Caesarian section delivery.

Previa nearly always turns out to be a minor complication that resolves itself.  But if treatment is necessary, both baby and Mom will be fine with proper care.

Natural Treatment for Placenta Previa

In nearly all cases, placenta previa resolves itself as the uterus enlarges throughout pregnancy.  Debra Betts (2006) notes in her book, Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth, “Although it has been estimated that as many as 30% of placentas on ultrasound are positioned low at 20 weeks gestation, less than 1% require further monitoring by 32 weeks, with only a small proportion of these requiring any medical intervention” (p.11).

If you’re planning a home birth or natural childbirth, placenta previa will need to be resolved before your doctor or midwife will give the go ahead for natural birth.  Even if you’re not planning on natural childbirth you may choose to treat it to avoid bed rest or further complication .

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a safe treatment option that can resolve placenta previa.

Chinese Medicine’s Approach to Placenta Previa

Traditional Chinese Medicine views placenta previa as “Sinking Qi.”  The goal of treatment is raise qi, stop vaginal bleeding, and calm the fetus.

TCM practitioners use two techniques to treat placenta previa:  herbal formulas and acupuncture.  Usually, practitioners employ a combination of these two treatments.

  • Herbal Formulas – An experienced TCM practitioner will administer an herbal formula  designed specifically for your condition.  Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang is a classic  Chinese formula used for raising qi. It’s very safe for pregnancy and is  often used to prevent recurring miscarriages as well as for treating  placenta previa.
  • Acupuncture – Acupuncture treatments are very successful, especially if the previa isn’t  fully covering the cervix.  Your practitioner will recommend a schedule of  acupuncture sessions to treat your individual condition.  Du 20 is the key  acupuncture point for treating placenta previa.  This point is located at the  very top of the head, and it’s very effective at raising qi.

Chinese medicine is a safe treatment option that can both alleviate symptoms and resolve previa.  If you’re interested in treating placenta previa with TCM, contact a qualified practitioner.  In cases where patients are confined to complete bed rest, it’s even possible to find a practitioner who will make house calls.

References- Betts, D. (2006).  Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth. Hove: The Journal of Chinese Medicine Ltd.

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  1. Jennah S says:

    As someone who had Placenta Previa with both of my pregnancies I would not classify it as a minor complication. In my experience it was terrifying. During my first pregnancy I started hemorrhaging at 24 weeks which caused pre-term labor and landed me in the hospital for 10 weeks were I continued to hemorrhage at least weekly if not more often for the final 10 weeks of my pregnancy. Despite the fact that my placenta moved in the final weeks the hemorrhaging continued. I was able to have a vaginal delivery (induced) and delivered a healthy baby girl. My son was more of the same except I was able to evade the prolonged hosp. stay and was only in for 3 weeks his birth had to be by cesarean though and my scar is a bit bigger than necessary due to the fact that they had to cut through the placenta to get to him. I had my tubes tied after his birth. I could no longer take the risk, I was grateful for my 2 children and have been happy with my decision, but MY experiences were not minor and were rather terrifying, I wish that I knew my naturopath during my pregnancies.

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  3. Angela says:

    I agree with the above poster – I have this right now and mine is not even covering os, it is .9 cm away from it. Still, I was rushed by ambulance to hospital last week at 29 weeks pregnant with severe bleeding and clots coming out the size of golfballs. It was terrifying to say the least – and to know that at any minute you could hemorrhage to death is a draining and petrifying position to be in. This is a severe and life threatening condition that puts the life of baby and mom at risk. The biggest study I could find on the condition was only able to be composed because they studied POST-MORTEM autopsy reports of women who had it. Not exactly a situation to talk lightly about.

  4. Kelly says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I have been looking for a resolution to my marginal placenta previa and this has given me hope!!

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