False Positive Diagnosis of Placenta Previa

Sonographic false-positive diagnoses of placenta previa may occur for a number of reasons. An overly distended urinary bladder may cause a low-lying placenta to appear as a previa. A myometrial contraction may mimic the placenta or push the edge of the placenta into the proximity of the cervical os. Diagnosing placenta previa at an early gestational age makes a false-positive diagnosis more likely. Many placentas that appear to cover or abut the cervical os during the second trimester are found to be a safe distance from the os on later exams. This apparent migration of the placenta is probably due to different growth rates of the placenta and the lower uterine segment. Most previas diagnosed before 20 weeks resolve prior to delivery.

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