We determined recent trends and recurrence rates of placenta praevia in 790,366 deliveries in NSW. From 2001 to 2009, the rate of placenta praevia increased by 26%, from 0. 69% to 0. 87% (trend P < 0.001). The placenta praevia recurrence rate in a second birth was 4.8%. Two‐thirds of the increase in placenta praevia was accounted for by trends in known risk factors, and the unexplained portion may reflect changes in unidentified risk factors or in the threshold for placenta praevia diagnosis.