Low lying placenta is a terms which is used when baby implants at the lower part of uterus. Lower part of uterus is not a good area for placental implantation, because it is poor in blood and so in nutrients and oxygen. In contrast, the upper part of placenta is much better and so it is preferred that the embryo implants at the upper parts of uterus, rather than lower parts. When baby implants at the lower parts of uterus, we will have a problem which is called low lying placenta. It is a problem because as I said the lower parts of placenta has no good blood circulation.
When a this problem occurs, embryo will not receive enough nutrients and oxygen and also it will not have enough space to grow. Therefore, risk of preterm labor will be higher.
The normal position of placenta is the upper and back section of uterus. Anterior low lying placenta forms in the front side of uterus, whereas posterior condition occurs at the back side of uterus.
When a low lying placenta is diagnosed during the first 20 weeks, it is always possible that placenta moves up and finds the normal position, but if placenta is still placed low on the third trimester of pregnancy and after 28 weeks, there is a low probability of moving up and having a normal position.
Low lying placenta symptoms:
Vaginal bleeding is the most important problem. Bleeding is bright red and occurs during the last stages of pregnancy. Bleeding is painless and noncontinuous. So it occurs sometimes, not all the time. The reason of bleeding during the last stages of pregnancy is because of the changes in lower parts of uterus to make the uterus ready for labor, but because placenta is not flexible, it disconnects from uterus at the edges and so it bleeds. So bleeding is one of the most important low lying placenta symptoms. Mother can have uterine spasm and cramping during the bleeding. Vaginal bleeding can be heavy during the last trimester of pregnancy.
Placenta previa is also a placenta position problem, but it is a little more complicated than low lying. The difference of placenta previa is that in addition to being placed in lower part of uterus, placenta previa also blocks and covers the cervical opening. So a placenta previa is low lying too, but a low lying placenta is not necessarily a placenta previa.
Low lying placenta causes are unknown. It can occur in some of the pregnancies in one person. As the causes are unknown, it is not possible to prevent it too.
Low lying placenta precautions:
As low lying placenta does not cover the cervical opening, a vaginal delivery is possible and there is no serious risk. However, it has to be diagnosed carefully that if placenta has covered the cervical opening or not. This is something ultrasound does not say sometimes. So it really has to be diagnosed, specially after the 28 weeks that if it has covered the cervical opening or not (placenta previa). If it does, it will have serious and life-threatening bleeding, in case of vaginal delivery. Delivery has to be done through Cesarean section (C section) only. So in general there is no serious risk in, unless it covers the cervical opening and in this case, C section will be a safe way of delivery and vaginal delivery should be avoided.
Exercise can intensify and aggravate the bleeding. So mothers who are diagnosed with low lying placenta should be careful and consult their specialist before doing any exercise.
Other Placenta Position Problems: