During pregnancy, the
placenta is normally attached to the upper wall of the
uterus. A placenta that develops low in the uterus
without overlapping the
cervical opening is referred to as a low-lying
placenta. A low-lying placenta is not a high-risk condition and often resolves
as the pregnancy progresses.
If you have a low-lying placenta early in pregnancy, there is a good
chance that as the lower uterus enlarges, the placenta's relative position will
shift away from the cervix. But when the placenta does overlap the cervix, it
placenta previa, which can bleed heavily during labor.
Fortunately, about 90% of placenta previa cases diagnosed before the 20th week
no longer overlap the cervix by the end of the pregnancy.1
CitationsWilliams DE, Pridjian G (2011). Obstetrics. In RE Rakel, DP Rakel, eds., Textbook of Family Medicine, 8th ed., pp. 359–401. Philadelphia: Saunders.
February 3, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
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