Cesarean section (C-section) is almost always recommended in cases of placenta previa. If there is a chance that you have placenta accreta in addition to placenta previa, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be necessary.
If your placenta previa is a marginal or low-lying type of previa, you may be able to deliver vaginally because the baby's head will compress the placenta and keep it from bleeding. To ensure a safe delivery, the doctor requests a double set-up (that is, delivery room arrangements for both a vaginal and a cesarean section delivery). You are prepped for a C-section and taken into the operating room. Your doctor checks to see whether placental tissue can be seen or felt near your cervix. If the doctor feels the placental tissue will not interfere with vaginal delivery, vaginal delivery may be attempted. Hopefully, you can deliver vaginally without consequence, but the set-up for a cesarean section is ready in case of complications.