During your anomaly scan (at around 18-20 weeks), we mainly check your baby’s growth and development. We also check the position of the placenta (afterbirth) in the uterus (womb).
In the majority of cases, the placenta is situated in the upper part of the uterus, away from the cervix (the opening to the womb, that your baby is born through).
However, in a small number of cases, the placenta is classed as low lying, which means it is attached to the lower half of the uterus. Here we explain what this means for you and answers some of the most common questions about the condition.
Is there a problem if my placenta is low lying?
90% of women who have a low-lying placenta in the middle of their pregnancy will not be affected in the later weeks. At the end of pregnancy, only a tiny percentage of women have the condition.
If your placenta is classed as low lying at 20 weeks and you experience any bleeding, please contact:
- Scunthorpe Delivery Suite 03033 302270
- Grimsby – call your allocated midwifery team
It’s likely that you will be advised to go to the nearest hospital in the event of any bleeding, so please ensure you have your notes with you at all times, as these will contain a copy of your scan report.
How will I know if my placenta is still low lying?
An appointment will be made for a repeat scan at 32 weeks to check the position of the placenta. It’s important that you have a full bladder prior to this, as this will help our sonographer to get a good view of the placenta. This scan may be done vaginally.
What if it is still low lying at the 32 week scan?
If, after the 32 week scan, your placenta is less than 2cms from your cervix, arrangements will be made for you to be seen by a doctor, who will discuss this with you.
In this small percentage of women, it means that the cervix cannot fully open in labour without causing bleeding.
In such cases, a Caesarean is normally recommended from 38-39 weeks of pregnancy.
If significant bleeding occurs before this, a Caesarean may need to be performed earlier.
Date of issue: February 2023
Review period: February 2026