Q&A: Is a low-lying placenta cause for alarm?
Yesterday at my ultrasound, my doctor indicated that I have a "low-lying" placenta. Should I be concerned?
A low-lying placenta is a common finding on an ultrasound, especially early on in pregnancy. The placenta is a disc-shaped organ that lies against the inner wall of the uterus, providing oxygen and nutrients and removal of metabolic waste for the fetus. A placenta can be “fundal” (at the top of the uterus) or can be lower in the uterus on the front wall (anterior) or the back wall (posterior). The most serious potential problem with placental location is called placenta previa, when the placenta covers the opening of the cervix, which can lead to bleeding, and (if it persists) usually requires a Cesarean delivery.
The good news is, placentas which seem to be previa or low-lying early in pregnancy often “move” away as time passes, so that low-lying and previa placentas are much less common as the due date nears. A low-lying placenta doesn’t usually pose a problem at all. If your care team is concerned that your ultrasound finding might represent placenta previa, another ultrasound will be done in the mid third trimester to check on placental location. Unless that is a concern, you don’t have much to worry about from finding a low-lying placenta on routing scan.