Low lying placenta-all you need to know

Ambili S Kartha

Created by Ambili S Kartha
Updated on Jun 03, 2020

Low lying placenta all you need to know
Reviewed by Expert panel

So your doctor has just told you that you have a low-lying placenta and you need to take it easy for few days. You get worried – what is low-lying placenta? Forget about low-lying or not you are not even aware what placenta is and you go on the net to find out what it is. So what is placenta and what is low-lying placenta?

What Is Placenta?

The placenta is an organ that develops in a woman's womb during pregnancy. It is responsible for providing oxygen and food for the developing fetus.

After conception, the fertilized egg embeds itself somewhere in the uterus. There is no proposed or specific position for implantation. It may choose to implant low, high, posterior (back) or anterior (front). The placenta develops wherever the egg is implanted.

What Is Low Lying Placenta?

Low lying placenta is a pregnancy complication in which the placenta gets implanted in the lower part of the uterus near to or covering the cervix.

A low-lying placenta not necessarily covers the internal OS (the upper end of the cervix that opens into the uterus) of the cervix and therefore, does not block the baby from passing through the cervix. For that reason, a vaginal birth is still possible even though the placenta is located close to the cervix.

It is also seen in many instances, a low-lying placenta corrects their own position as the pregnancy progresses. However, if the low-lying placenta moves and blocks the cervix, the placenta will be termed a placenta previa.

What Are The Types of Placenta Previa?

  1. Complete: In this type of placenta previa, the placenta covers the entire opening (internal OS) starting from the uterus to the cervix
  2. Partial: In this type of placenta previa, the placenta covers the cervical opening partially
  3. Marginal: In this type of placenta previa, the placenta lies close to the cervical opening, near its edge, without covering it

Are Placenta Previa And Anterior Placenta, Same?

No need to worry if your doctor mentions you are having an anterior placenta. Both are not same and anterior placenta poses no risks. It simply means the placenta is on the front side of the womb, means your belly side instead of the attaching to the back of the womb, which is more common.

How Common Is Placenta Previa?

Placenta Previa is reported in approximately 4 out of 1000 pregnancies. It is more common (the rate increases to one out of 90) in mothers who have had a baby before. At the same time, in the case of time mothers, the rate is decreased to one out of 250.

What Causes Placenta Previa Or Low Lying Placenta?

The reason or the cause of low lying placenta is not yet known. However, there are several risk factors that happen to trigger low lying placenta.

  1. A previous miscarriage
  2. An abortion
  3. Have had any type of surgery on the placenta like a c-section
  4. Having more than one previous delivery
  5. Large placenta
  6. IVF
  7. An early history of any type of surgeries on the uterus, like surgery to remove the uterine fibroid
  8. Smoking
  9. Advanced maternal age, pregnant women aged forty plus are more often experienced this condition
  10. Abnormally shaped uterus
  11. Multiple pregnancies
  12. Living at high altitude
  13. Any other factors that cause scarring to or inflammation of the uterine lining

How To Diagnose Low Lying Placenta?

The location of the placenta is usually identified during the routine 20th-week antenatal ultrasound scanning. When the doctor find the first signs of placental localization in the lower regions of the uterus, or if the pregnant woman experience painless vaginal bleeding in the second trimester, the doctor will perform a transvaginal scan, where the probe is positioned inside the vagina, to confirm low lying placenta or any form of placenta previa.

Even after confirming the condition, the doctors go for another scan around 32nd week of pregnancy. In many instances, during this scan, the placenta is found to move up and away from the cervix. However, the chances will be very low for this, if you had a previous C-section or persistent placenta previa.

What Are The Consequences Low Lying Placenta? How To Deal With It?

There can be numerous consequences of low-lying placenta, here I am listing some of the common consequences that an expecting mommy experiences with low-lying placenta complication.

  1. The main consequence of low-lying placenta is bleeding. Depending on the position of the placenta, it can be minimal, heavy, or uncontrollable bleeding. The doctors usually restrict the pregnant woman from traveling and intercourse and vaginal examination in case of partial or complete placenta previa
  2. Minimal bleeding only needs complete rest
  3. Heavy bleeding requires hospitalization, continuous monitoring of mother and also blood transfusions. The fetal heartbeat will also continuously monitored to make sure the blood loss is not adversely affecting the fetus
  4. Uncontrollable bleeding necessitates an emergency C-section to protect the life of the mother, irrespective of the week of pregnancy
  5. Depending on the severity of the placenta previa, the C –section will be scheduled way before the due date, thereby, increases the chances of pre-term delivery. In this case, the baby might be given corticosteroid injections in order to speed up the lung growth
  6. The risk of internal bleeding, chances of severe hemorrhage in the course of delivery, or just after delivery are other major consequences of the low lying placenta
  7. Very low lying placenta can also bring about spontaneous preterm delivery and PPROM (Preterm premature rupture of membranes), that too leads to preterm delivery

Did you like the blog on low-lying placenta? Do you know anyone who is dealing with or has dealt with low-lying placenta? What precautions did you take? Share them with us in the comments section below so that fellow expecting mommies can take some well-needed suggestions.

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Dec 22, 2017

where s the article?

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| Dec 22, 2017

quite an informative blog, with useful info on low lying placenta and it's consequences.. thanks for sharing!!

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| Jan 03, 2018

hi i am 33 weeks pregnant,and my placenta shows 2. 4cm from os in my 29th week scan! is normal delivery is possible in this case?

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| Jun 12, 2018

hi im 29 werk pregnant n facing placenta previa problem. are there any chances of moving placenta from its place to right place?

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| Sep 02, 2018

Am going through the same issue. I have had pain from 12weeks and I went to see a gynecologist and I was put on total bed rest. That has helped me a lot,even if the pain is there but it has reduced.

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| Oct 01, 2018

I had a low lying placenta in my 20th week scan... it persisted in 25th week scan... placenta moved upward in 30th week... thus I am relieved... I am aiming for normal delivery which is now very much possible...

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| Oct 01, 2018

I had a low lying placenta in my 20th week scan... it persisted in 25th week scan... placenta moved upward in 30th week... thus I am relieved... I am aiming for normal delivery which is now very much possible...

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| Feb 01, 2021

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