Placenta Previa Medication

Updated: Jan 30, 2023
  • Author: Ronan Bakker, MD; Chief Editor: Carl V Smith, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

No medication is of specific benefit to a patient with placenta previa. Tocolysis may be cautiously considered in some circumstances in order to administer antenatal corticosteroids. A review article concluded that there is no improvement in perinatal outcome with prolonged tocolytics, and tocolysis beyond 48 hours is not clinically indicated. [15]

Encourage patients with known placenta previa to maintain intake of iron and folate as a safety margin in the event of bleeding.

There have been studies that report using prothrombin complex and recombinant factor VII to control hemorrhage associated with obstetric complications and placenta previa.



Class Summary

Tocolytic agents prevent preterm labor or contractions. Some specialists advocate tocolytics to promote the time for expectant management of symptomatic placenta previa. They should only be used after consultation with an obstetrician.

Magnesium sulfate

Magnesium sulfate is a nutritional supplement in hyperalimentation. It is a cofactor in enzyme systems involved in neurochemical transmission and muscular excitability. In adults, 60-180 mEq of potassium, 10-30 mEq of magnesium, and 10-40 mEq of phosphate per day may be necessary for optimum metabolic response.

Administer magnesium sulfate intravenously (IV) or intramuscularly (IM) for seizure prophylaxis in preeclampsia. Use the IV route for a quicker onset of action in true eclampsia. Discontinue treatment as soon as the desired effect is obtained. Repeat the doses, depending on the continuing presence of a patellar reflex and adequate respiratory function.



Class Summary

Steroids may be administered after consultation with a gynecologist, if vaginal bleeding is mild and intermittent, if the patient is not in labor, and if gestation is less than 37 weeks.

Dexamethasone acetate (Baycadron)

Dexamethasone may be given to promote the development of the lungs in the fetus.

Betamethasone (Celestone)

Betamethasone helps to promote fetal lung maturity.


Adrenergic Agonists

Class Summary

These agents have sympathomimetic vasopressor activity.

Terbutaline (Brethine)

Terbutaline acts directly on beta2-receptors to relax uterine contractions.