Definition of placenta previa in US English:

placenta previa

(British placenta praevia)


  • A condition in which the placenta partially or wholly blocks the neck of the uterus, thus interfering with normal delivery of a baby.

    • ‘Smoking during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight, premature delivery, placenta previa (a complication that could cause bleeding and become a medical emergency), miscarriage and post-delivery death.’
    • ‘We sent questionnaires to the 220 clinical tutors of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in England and Wales to survey the antenatal management of asymptomatic placenta praevia.’
    • ‘As with placental abruption, placenta previa can result in the birth of a premature baby.’
    • ‘The diagnosis of placenta previa is very common in the second trimester, but more than 95% of these do not have placenta previa at delivery.’
    • ‘Partway through the pregnancy, however, I developed placenta previa, and my pregnancy became high risk.’


Early 19th century: from placenta and Latin praevia ‘going before’, feminine of praevius.


placenta previa

/pləˌsentə ˈprēvēə/