Pregnancy: Placenta Previa (cont.)

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What are possible complications of placenta previa?

Placenta previa can be associated with other abnormalities of the placenta or of the umbilical cord. Some studies have shown a reduction in fetal growth associated with placenta previa, and the presence of the placenta in the lower part of the uterus makes breech or abnormal presentation of the fetus more likely.

The bleeding of placenta previa can increase the risk for preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM), leading to premature labor.

Placenta accreta is a serious complication that occurs in 5% to 10% of women with placenta previa. Placenta accreta results when the placental tissue grows too deeply into the womb, attaching to the muscle layer, resulting in difficulty separating the placenta from the wall of the uterus at delivery. This complication can cause life-threatening bleeding and commonly requires hysterectomy at the time of Cesarean delivery.

Lastly, as with other complications of pregnancy, placenta previa can have a significant emotional impact on the pregnant woman.

Can placenta previa be prevented?

Placenta previa cannot typically be prevented. In some cases, risk factors for the development of placenta previa can be eliminated (such as smoking cessation).

What is the prognosis (outlook) for placenta previa?

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The majority of women with placenta previa in developed countries will deliver healthy babies, and the maternal mortality (death) rate is less than 1%. In developing countries where medical resources may be lacking, the risks for mother and fetus may be higher.

Medically reviewed by Steven Nelson, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology

REFERENCE:; "Placenta Previa."

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/3/2015

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