OBJECTIVES: (i) To estimate the prevalence burden of placenta praevia in each world region, and (ii) to investigate potential sources of heterogeneity. METHODS: Systematic review of the literature and random-effects meta-analysis. Potential sources of heterogeneity were investigated using meta-regression. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of placenta praevia was 5.2 per 1000 pregnancies (95% CI: 4.5-5.9). However, there was evidence of regional variation (P = 0.0001); prevalence was highest among Asian studies (12.2 per 1000 pregnancies; 95% CI: 9.5-15.2) and lower among studies from Europe (3.6 per 1000 pregnancies; 95% CI: 2.8-4.6), North America (2.9 per 1000 pregnancies; 95% CI: 2.3-3.5) and Sub-Saharan Africa (2.7 per 1000 pregnancies; 95% CI: 0.3-11.0). The prevalence of major placenta praevia was 4.3 per 1000 pregnancies (95% CI: 3.3-5.4). CONCLUSION: The prevalence of placenta praevia is low at around 5 per 1000 pregnancies. There is some evidence suggestive of regional variation in its prevalence, but it is not possible to determine from existing data whether this is due to true ethnic differences or other unknown factor(s).
- Africa South of the Sahara/epidemiology Asia/epidemiology Europe/epidemiology Female Humans Maternal Welfare/*statistics & numerical data North America/epidemiology Placenta Previa/*epidemiology Postpartum Hemorrhage/epidemiology/etiology Pregnancy Prevalence Regression Analysis Reproductive Health/*statistics & numerical data