Pregnancies complicated by placenta praevia: What is appropriate management?

Corinne D.B. Love, Euan M. Wallace

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Objective To review the outcome of pregnancies complicated by placenta praevia over a three-year period (1991–1993) and to describe in detail the antenatal course and the events leading to delivery, assessing retrospectively whether there are clinical features predictive of outcome and whether outpatient management would be reasonable. Design A retrospective review of the case records of women with a pregnancy complicated by placenta praevia. Setting A tertiary referral teaching hospital in Edinburgh. Results There were 15,930 deliveries in the study period. Fifty-eight women (0.4%) had a placenta praevia in the third trimester, 42 of whom (72%) had at least one episode of bleeding. Overall, 62% of the women had a major praevia with no differences in the grade of praevia between those women who did or did not have bleeding. Both diagnosis and delivery occurred significantly earlier in women with antepartum bleeding than in those without (median gestation at diagnosis 28.6 weeks versus 33.3 weeks (P < 0.01) and at delivery 36.0 weeks versus 37.1 weeks (P= 0.04), respectively). Delivery by emergency caesarean section was more common in women with bleeding (62%versus 38%). An increasing number of bleeding episodes experienced by individuals was not associated with significant differences in outcomes. Rapid emergency delivery for bleeding was necessary for three women, in none of whom could the bleeding have been predicted. Conclusions The clinical outcomes of placenta praevia are highly variable and cannot be predicted confidently from antenatal events. Nonetheless, in the majority of cases with or without bleeding and irrespective of the degree of praevia, outpatient management would appear safe and appropriate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)864-867
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1996
Externally publishedYes

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