Placenta Previa

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about placenta previa.

What puts a woman at increased risk for placenta previa?

Dr. Bachman discusses increased risk of placenta previa. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

What puts a woman at increased risk for placenta previa?

There are multiple risk factors for placenta previa. There's a whole list of them, probably at least 10, but the most common ones are the more pregnancies you have, each subsequent pregnancy, you're at greater risk for placenta previa. If you've had prior uterine surgery, so women who've had a prior C-section, anybody who's had prior surgery to remove a fibroid, anything that interrupts or disrupts the endometrial lining. Women who've had recurrent miscarriages, even spontaneous losses, they're at increased risk for placenta previa. In today's day and age, with technology and advanced reproductive, or assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF, we are seeing increased risk of placenta previa in those pregnancies as well. Smoking is a huge risk factor for placenta previa, as well as cocaine use. I think those are probably the major risk factors or the major conditions we see associated with a risk for placenta previa.


Though there are a variety of risk factors that can increase a woman’s risk for placenta previa.

According to Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the following things can increase a woman’s risk for developing placenta previa:

  • Abnormally shaped uterus
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Pregnancy at an older age
  • Pregnancy with multiple children, such as twins or triplets
  • Prior miscarriages
  • Prior pregnancies
  • Prior uterine surgery, including C-section
  • Smoking
  • Use of cocaine

Placenta previa affects about 1 in every 200 pregnant women, according to the NIH.

Talk to your doctor for more information about increase risk of placenta previa.

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Source: Katherine Bachman, MD, Upper Valley Womens Center