Low lying placenta at 12 weeks: Placenta Praevia symptoms and treatment

Low lying placenta

What is a low lying placenta or placenta praevia?

The placenta is your baby’s lifeline providing the baby with nutrients and oxygen till he/she is delivered. It develops at the spot that the fertilised egg embeds in your uterus after its travels up the fallopian tube. It is possible that it could attach at the lower part of your uterus where it opens out into the cervix. Medically, this is known as “low lying placenta”.

An ultrasound scan will reveal this situation in early pregnancy. Don’t be concerned just yet. As the baby grows, your uterus balloons up too and will naturally pull the placenta away from your cervix upwards.

If the placenta still ends up lying low, even after 20 weeks of pregnancy, it is called placenta praevia. Even still, there is time for it to move away before the baby is born.

What are the symptoms of placenta praevia?

One of the main symptoms of placenta praevia, and the greatest risk to you and your baby, is vaginal bleeding. Other symptoms include may include low blood count or anaemia, pale skin, rapid pulse rate, shortness of breath, or lowered BP. The bleeding that is the indicator of placenta praevia may occur at the end of the second trimester or beginning of the third trimester. It could either be heavy or light.

How is placenta praevia managed?

Even if you have been diagnosed with placenta praevia, you may not be given any special treatment. You’ll just have to wait and watch what happens. Your medical team is aware of the situation and will track you during every visit, especially towards the end of your pregnancy. Your precautions may vary with other symptoms as well. If you’ve not had any bleeding, you may be able to stay at home and will have to monitor yourself for any pains or sudden bleeding in which case you should go to the hospital immediately.

Your doctor will recommend you have a series of scans week 32 of pregnancy if:

  • you've experienced bleeding
  • she's concerned you may have other complications

If you haven't had any of these, you may be offered a planned C-section after 38 weeks. Because you may be more susceptible to bleeding during the operation, the team entrusted with caring for you will have a blood transfusion on standby, in case of an emergency. However, do remember that doctors are fully capable of managing placenta praevia and can help you successfully deliver a baby.