My objective for the STEAM project is to describe placental formation and function, specifically on the topic of placenta previa. The media is water-based markers and colored pencil on paper. It depicts a fetus sitting on top of the placenta which is placed on top of the vaginal canal.

Normally, the placenta will implant in the upper range of the uterus around after a week and then mature. It will become sufficient to nourish the fetus at around 18 or 20 weeks, and will continue to grow until pregnancy. However, in cases of placenta previa, the placenta becomes implanted near or on top of the cervix, at the bottom of the uterus (Department of health, 2001). This placement can cause many different complications and may even require non-vaginal birth. This is exacerbated if the placenta is anterior in placement. A common indicator of placenta previa is painless vaginal bleeding at around 20 weeks of pregnancy. Around this time is when the cervical walls thin and spread, this can cause tearing in the placenta if it is on the cervix. Later on, this can cause blood loss and fetal distress. This can lead to a premature birthing or in extreme cases, death of the mother and/or fetus.

While a c-section may be the recommended birthing route, it may be possible to deliver vaginally. While the guidelines tend to suggest a c-section if the placenta is within 2 cm of the cervical opening, it is suggested that you may be able to deliver vaginally without significant bleeding (Placenta previa, 2014)


Placenta previa can be identified early on with use of sonography to check on the fetus and uterus. If bleeding does occur in the 20th week, it is highly recommended to get sonography done before a digital vaginal exam. In cases of placenta previa, the pressure and shifting of the vaginal exam could cause massive bleeding and further damage. Some factors that can increase your chances of developing placenta previa include fibroids, endometrium, and low implantation of the fertilized egg (Placenta previa, 2014). You are at higher risk of placenta previa if you have had it in the past. If diagnosed with placenta previa, bed rest is recommended. It is best to avoid lifting anything above 20 lbs and to avoid standing for long periods. Other activities that can dislodge the placenta, such as intercourse, should be avoided. 

Anderson-Bagga, F., & Sze, A. (n.d.). Placenta previa – statpearls – NCBI bookshelf. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved April 21, 2023, from

Department of Health & Human Services. (2001, October 8). Placenta previa. Better Health Channel. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from

Placenta previa – journal of obstetrics and gynaecology canada. JOGC. (2014, August). Retrieved April 21, 2023, from

One Comment

  1. This project is about the condition called “placenta previa”. In this condition, the placenta develops towards the cervix, and may partially or totally cover the birth canal. If too much of the birth canal is covered by the placenta, a vaginal birth may not be possible due to the risk of severe bleeding and/or death. Vaginal bleeding without pain may occur near the 20th week of gestation. This condition can be diagnosed with imaging, specifically sonography. If diagnosed with placenta previa, bed rest and a birthing plan that may include a c-section are the recommended treatment.
    The art aspect of this project is visually interesting, and features an artistic rendering of a fetus in blues and purples, contrasting its yellow uterine environment. The fetus is head down, positioned against a reddish placenta which appears to be fully covering the top of the cervix.

    Daisy Balavage

Comments are closed.