Placenta generally forms in the upper half of the womb, but in some cases it forms in the lower half and depending on the type it partially or fully covers the cervix. This situation is known as placenta praevia or low lying placenta. Low lying placenta is very common in the early stages of pregnancy and there is nothing to be alarmed about. As the pregnancy moves forward and the womb grows, placenta moves upward and the situation is under control.
But if the placenta is still low lying during mid pregnancy then the doctors do another scan to check. It is noted that a majority of placenta praevia problems are resolved but if it persists then it is a cause of concern.
Placenta Praevia can be classified into four types depending on the location of the placenta –
Low lying: The placenta is low lying but doesn’t cover the cervix and the baby can be born vaginally
Marginal: Lower part of placenta touches but does not cover the top of the cervix so the baby can be born both normally and by caesarean depending on the situation
Partial: Placenta slightly covers the top of the cervix and the baby will need to be born by caesarean section
Complete: Placenta totally covers the top of the cervix and the baby will be born by caesarean
Who is at risk?
• Women younger than 20 and older than 30 are at risk of suffering from low laying placenta
• Second time mothers and mothers having closely spaced children
• Women carrying twins or multiple babies
• Women who smoke Women who have given birth by caesarean section or had abortion or have had uterine surgery done
• Women who have suffered from placenta praevia in their earlier pregnancy
Diagnosis and Precautions: Placenta praevia is mainly identified by bleeding which is painless during the late stages of pregnancy. Whenever bleeding starts, the doctor should be immediately contacted and in all such cases the patient is advised full bed rest. If there is heavy bleeding the doctor might admit the woman for a few days at the hospital. If placenta praevia is diagnosed earlier then the doctor may advise to take bed rest and avoid during heavy chores. If the bleeding is uncontrolled (hemorrhage), it can be life threatening but such situations are not common. If someone has been detected for placenta praevia earlier, they should inform their doctor beforehand so that proper care can be taken.