Answer: Low-lying placenta, or placenta praevia, is a complication of pregnancy where the placenta that feeds the growing baby is attached to the lower part of the womb near to or covering the cervix.
Low-lying placenta may be picked up during a routine 20-week ultrasound scan appointment.
In some cases, a placenta that is seen to be low-lying will move upwards later in pregnancy.
Any bleeding from placenta praevia at the entrance to the womb in the second half of the pregnancy can be heavy and a risk to the baby and the mother's health. After a low-lying placenta diagnosis, seek medical advice if there's any bleeding during pregnancy.
Having a low-lying placenta means it is more likely a caesarean section delivery will be recommended.
There are several types of placenta praevia:
A low-lying placenta is near the cervical opening but not covering it. It will often move upward in the uterus as your due date approaches.
A partial placenta praevia covers part of the cervical opening.
A total placenta praevia covers and blocks the cervical opening.