The UK NSC recommendation on Placenta praevia screening in pregnancy

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended, clinical practice guidelines covered by NICE
Last review completed December 2013
Next review due in 2016/17
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A national screening programme for placenta praevia is not recommended.


Policy for the assessment of placental location, risk of placenta praevia and its management pathway is currently addressed by the RCOG and NICE.


Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

Assessment of the position of the placenta is an established part of the routine 18 – 20+6 week ultrasound scan and if it is low the woman will be recalled later in pregnancy for monitoring. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and NICE provide guidance for health professionals.

In light of this, the UK NSC does not feel that a formal screening programme for placenta praevia is warranted.

Patient information is available from the RCOG.

More about Placenta praevia

Placenta praevia is when the placenta lies too low in the womb (uterus) after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

» Read more about placenta praevia from the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists

» Also see the UK NSC policy on vasa praevia


British Maternal & Fetal Medicine Society
Faculty of Public Health
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Midwives
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Society and College of Radiographers

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon Summary and consultation responses for placenta praevia and vasa praevia (PDF document, 349KB, 19/12/13)

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