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Placenta Previa & Low Lying Placenta

Placenta previa, or low-lying placenta, occurs when the placenta covers part or all of the cervix during the last months of pregnancy. This often causes bleeding throughout pregnancy which can be pretty alarming! The placenta often starts low in early pregnancy but as the uterus grows and stretches, the placenta moves up to the higher part. You may notice on your ultrasound report that the sonographer has written something like 'anterior not low' or 'posterior not low' when referring to the position of the placenta. Either of these are totally normal as posterior just means back of the womb and anterior means front.
When a placenta lies too low and covers the cervix, it means a c-section is neccessary as the baby's exit is blocked. Placenta previa has various grades depending on whether its covering some or all of the cervix.
If you have been told your placenta lays low, you will probably be offered extra ultrasounds throughout your pregnancy to check it's exact position by the time you are late in your third trimester. This will give you an indication as to whether a natural birth is possible or not. If the placenta is low lying at full term but doesn't cover the cervix and is more that 2cm away you may be able to have a natural birth but will be monitored closely for excess bleeding.

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