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  5. Low placenta and transverse/breach position at 20 weeks

Low placenta and transverse/breach position at 20 weeks Lock Rss

Hi girls,
Not sure if anyone has any advice but I had my 20 week scan today and was told my placenta is lying low near the cervix and will need to go back and have another scan at 34 weeks to see if it has moved enough for me to have another vaginal birth.
Bubs was also moving between breach and transverse positions during the scan. My DS was already head down by 20 weeks and I know that second babies often don't move into their final position until further along sometimes but I'm wondering if there's anything I can do to encourage her to move head down?
[Edited on 11/01/2010]

This is reported in around 5% of pregnancies at the 18-20 week scan. There is no need to worry if you are amongst this 5% – you can continue your daily activities as per normal unless you have been advised otherwise.

In your third trimester (until around 36 weeks) the bottom part of your uterus does most of it’s growing and stretching, taking the placenta with it. It doesn’t ‘migrate’ upwards, but being attached to the uterine wall, it’s carried upwards with it. In 0.5% of cases, the placenta doesn’t move up with the uterus – so given that small percent, there is an extremely good chance that your placenta will not be covering your cervix when it’s time to give birth, enabling you to have a vaginal birth.

If you have a low lying placenta at 18-20 weeks, this does not mean you need a caesarean section. The placenta will highly likely move as mentioned above. The uterus still has much growing to do, so an ultrasound late in your third trimester will give you and your carer a better picture on what’s really going on and if it really is of concern.

If you have Placenta Praevia, you will likely need to birth your baby by caesarean section depending on the grade or degree of Placenta Praevia. You may be able to birth vaginally if you have a grade 1 or 2 Placenta Praevia, however if you have grades 3 or 4, a caesarean section will be necessary. This wont be booked in immediately, if you don’t go into labour before hand, you will likely be booked in at around 38 weeks when your baby is more mature. If you go into labour prior to this you will need an emergency caesarean. A grade 4 Placenta Praevia will often mean being admitted to hospital at the first bleed and remaining as an inpatient until birth.

As for your babys position it is still quite early to start worrying to much as they still do move around a lot so just follow Optimal Fetal Positioning and also check out


Depending on how low lying your placenta is you have a chance of a vaginal birth still. From 20 weeks to term there is still a lot of stretching of the uterus to come.

I have read that with subsequent pregnancies babies often take longer to get head down and that you can lay down with your hips elevated is supposed to help.

Mother to 2 + 1 soon

Thanks for your lovely replies SageMother and Mandy, I guess the thought of having a c-section really scared me yesterday! Thanks for the link to spinning babies, I'm going to have a good read of it when DS has his nap.

I've just been through the same thing as you. This is bub #3 for me though.
I went for my scan at 21 and a half weeks and they found that my placenta's lowest edge was about 1.5 cm from the opening. They didn't tell me though, I found out by opening the scans and reading it on the report so I had no idea what to think, but the great Mums here on huggies helped me relax about it heaps. I just had my follow up scan at 31 weeks 5 days and it looks like my placenta's lowest edge is now just over 11cm away from the opening.
I too also felt like you when it came to having a c-section too, considering my first labour was 4 and a half hours and labour #2 was 3 hours.
Also I read that your bub has been facing every which way but head down. Bub #2 did that to me. He was transverse up until about 32/33 weeks and then turned head down and I had him at 36 weeks.
I know this is easier said then down, but try not to stress until you really have too. It's not good for you or the bub.
Hope this has helped in some way,

Hi Ladies,

Just wanted to say to you all 'thanks for the advice!"
I'm 18 1/2 weeks and had a scan which showed that my placenta was lying low. This is my second pregnancy and haven't experienced it so I was totally freaking out about the situation but you advise has helped me to relax.
Thank You!!


Babies position should not be noted as a problem until around 32-34 weeks, then ultrasounds/palpation are used to check to see whether baby (who usually does) turn to a better position ready for engagement, although babies, even breech but not so commonly transverse can turn before or even during birth. With the placental position, alot of women are told this earlier on, but generally corrects itself by the 34 week scan. I was told this during my first preg and changed, though for some it doesn't, I think at this time (20 weeks) sonographers really should keep such information to themselves as it causes alot of unecessary worry to us Mums, but I guess on the other hand we need to know just in case!

I had the exact same problems with my 2nd pregnancy. Low lying placenta which corrected itself as time went on and DD was breach. She did not turn til 36 weeks and boy did i feel it. I wouldnt stress yet as you have a long time to go. Good luck with it all
Try not to worry too much, I know its hard, I have gestational diabetes so thats my main concern this pregnancy and have been on insulin since 13 weeks, but I had a borderline low lying placenta at 18 weeks, I had another scan the other day at 28 weeks and its all out of the way, but my baby is breech too, DD was head day from early on too, still a few weeks to go yet!

I had a complete placenta praevia which they told me would have no chance of moving. I bled through the entire pregnancy and then at 34 weeks was told it had moved far enough away. At 36 weeks I had a large bleed and was admitted to hospital and had the baby within 12 hours.

I wasnt allowed to do mopping, pushing a trolley, vaccuming - basically anything that involved using your ab muscles. Oh and definately NO SEX.

Moral of the story... If you have a bleed they will scan you and keep a close eye on you. In most cases (95% apparently) the placenta will move out of he way.

With bubs #1, I had a LLP. I too was so scared about having a c-section, which was eventually booked in as a precaution. About 4 weeks prior to birth my placenta moved up and everything was a-okay! PHEW!

When I was first told about it, the Obs told me no heavy lifting, take it easy, stay within 1 hour of a hospital and NO SEX! Oh, and bubs was transverse until the last week or so.

Try to enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can & take it easy.
Thanks for everyones responses! Crazy_baby, did you experience any bleeding as well? When I had my last midwife apt she didn't mentioned taking any precautions
[Edited on 28/01/2010]

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