Low lying placenta/placenta praevia
During pregnancy the placenta attaches to the side of your uterus and connects to your baby
with the umbilical cord, providing him with the blood, oxygen and nourishment he needs to develop and grow. Sometimes the placenta attaches low in the uterus and is very close to or covers the cervix.
A low lying placenta often shows up in the 20 week ultrasound scan but, in most cases, the placenta will move upwards
as the uterus grows. Only 1 in 10 women will continue to have a low lying placenta, although if you have previously had a
caesarean this increases to 5 in 10.
If your placenta covers your cervix and there has been no vaginal bleeding, you will be offered another scan at 32 weeks.
Otherwise you will be offered a repeat scan at 36 weeks to check the position of your placenta.
How is placenta praevia managed during pregnancy?
- The main concerns with placenta praevia are bleeding and an unstable placenta, which could be dangerous for your baby.
- You will be advised to seek medical attention if you have a bleed in pregnancy, which can mean taking it easy or bed rest.
- If you have a bleed you may be offered hospital admission from about 34 weeks to encourage constant bed rest and
to provide closer medical attention and support.
Placenta praevia and birth
- If your placenta is less than 2cm from your cervix at your 32/36 week scan you will need to give birth by caesarean,
which will probably take place at 38 or 39 weeks unless you have a bleed.
- It is likely that a Consultant Obstetrician and a Consultant Anaesthetist will attend your caesarean and blood will be matched
and ready incase you need a blood transfusion.
- With severe placenta praevia the risks of complications can increase, with haemorrhage 12 times more likely.
You can discuss the birth of your baby with your obstetrician, especially if you have any concerns
about the risk of complications.