What is placenta accreta?
The placenta provides nutrients and support to a fetus during pregnancy. After your baby is born, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall and gets delivered. Placenta accreta happens when the placenta is attached too deeply to the uterus. When this happens, it cannot be delivered.
Placenta accreta can cause severe health problems for the mother and baby if not treated.You’re at a higher risk for placenta accreta if you:
- Have had previous surgery on the uterus, including cesarean sections
- Have been pregnant before
- Are older than 35
- Have abnormal placenta position
Example: placenta previa, where the placenta is over the cervix.
What are the symptoms of placenta accreta?
Often there are no signs or symptoms of placenta accreta. Bright red bleeding during the third trimester could mean that something is wrong with the placenta.
How is placenta accreta diagnosed?
Placenta accreta is usually diagnosed with ultrasound. Your doctor can sometimes diagnose it as early as the first trimester. But it is usually diagnosed in the second or third trimester. You may need several ultrasounds to check for placenta accreta if you are at an increased risk. In some cases your provider may order a magnetic resonance imaging MRI test.
Are there different types of placenta accreta?
The different types of placenta accreta are related to how deeply the placenta is attached to the uterus.
- Placenta accreta happens when the placenta attaches to the wall of the uterus.
- Placenta increta occurs when the placenta goes through the uterine wall into the muscle.
- Placenta percreta happens when the placenta goes through the outer wall of the uterus and attaches to outside organs.
What is the treatment for placenta accreta?
If the placenta accreta is not treated properly, it can result in severe health problems and even death for the baby, the mother or both. In some cases, early delivery or hysterectomy are necessary to reduce complications.
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