Sunday, December 13, 2009

Spotting In First Trimester Not Placenta Previa


Hi Dr. Ramirez,

I am a 35 yo with no children. I found out I am 7 weeks pregnant and went for blood work and a sonogram since I have been spotting and had sporadic cramps for a few days. My doctor discovered I have low implantation of the embryo and placenta previa from the sono, and low progesterone levels from my blood work.

My doctor said my progesterone levels are 13.5 and should be higher (around 15) so he prescribed Prochieve Vaginal Gel. Is Procheive a good thing and is it needed? Will it produce side effects in the baby?

For the placenta previa, I have read so much negative information which speaks of hemorrhaging to hysterectomy and C-section. While I am okay with the thought of a C-section as it may save my life and the baby's, is there any statistical information available which discusses the probabilities of fatalities and hysterectomies?

With that being said, I am pro-choice and would like to make an educated decision on if I should carry this pregnancy to full term. With all the obstacles in front of me, in your experience and opinion, what are the chances of having a healthy child?


First of all, I don't think you need to consider terminating this pregnancy because there is nothing seriously wrong at this point.I think that your doctor is over-calling things. To be frank, the recommendations and diagnosis he/she has given you is inappropriate at this gestational age.

Placenta previa CANNOT be made at 7 weeks gestation. That is a third trimester (after 28 weeks) diagnosis. At your gestational age, the entire amniotic sac is filled with the placenta. The mature placenta has not even developed yet. Placenta previa is when the placenta blocks the cervical opening, which then requires a c-section. As the uterus grows, the placenta will move and 99% of the time, the placenta moves out of the way. So you don't need to worry about it.

In terms of the progesterone, he/she is mistaken about that as well, however, we use progesterone all the time with infertility patients to help support the pregnancy. It is usually started before implantation, however. It would not hurt and Endometrin is the prescription that I use. It will not harm you or the baby. The alternatives to Endometrin, which are just as good, are Crinone and Procheive.

Spotting is very common in the first trimester. We see it all the time with our IVF patients. It does not necessarily mean that anything bad is occurring. However, you are still in the miscarriage risk stage so sometimes, spotting or bleeding could mean that the pregnancy is not doing well and will eventually end in miscarriage. There is no way to know this unless the ultrasound does not show a viable fetus i.e. no heart beat or not growing.

I hope this helps. Don't worry too much.

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.

1 comment:

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