Low lying placenta


What is this?

The placenta [afterbirth] is securely attached to the inside of the uterus, where it remains throughout the pregnancy, providing your baby with oxygen and nutrients via the umbilical cord. It is ideal if the placenta is attached high up on the wall of the uterus, well away from the cervix [neck of the womb] which will stretch and open to allow the baby to be born.

Unfortunately you have no control over which part of the uterine wall the placenta decides to attach itself to. With ultrasound scans carried out before 24 weeks gestation, it is quite common to find that the placenta is in the lower part of the uterus [low lying placenta].  

What will happen if I have a low-lying placenta?

If you are told after your anomaly scan that your placenta is low lying, you will be asked to come back for another scan a few weeks later to see if it has moved. This can be confusing, as the placenta itself does not really move at all.

What happens is that as the uterine wall grows and expands, it carries the placenta upwards and outwards, and further away from the cervix. If this happens, you dont have anything to worry about.

What if it doesnt move?

Sometimes a placenta is anchored very low down, or even partially or completely covering the cervix. In this case, even when the uterus grows, the placenta does not move further up. This is called placenta praevia.