Placenta Accreta

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Update Date 12/05/2020
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What is placenta accreta?

Placenta accreta is a condition occurs when the placenta becomes embedded too deeply in the uterine wall. It is a high-risk complication during pregnancy. Generally, after you deliver your baby a few minutes, the placenta detaches from the wall of your uterus and is delivered as well. However, if you get placenta accreta, the placenta remains attached to the uterine wall. As a result, this can cause severe bleeding and threaten your life. If your healthcare provider suspects you have placenta accreta, a C-section will be performed as soon as possible, followed by a hysterectomy (the surgical removal of your uterus).

Signs and symptoms of placenta accreta

Although placenta accreta can be fatal, it usually has no noticeable signs or symptoms. Consequently, sometimes you don’t even know you have it until your baby is delivered. In some other cases, your health care provider sees signs of it through an ultrasound and the bleeding in the vagina during the third trimester can be an important warning sign. Therefore, if you notice that you get vaginal bleeding during your third trimester, please contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Causes of placenta accreta

The specific cause of placenta accreta is still unknown. However, it may be linked to placenta previa and previous cesarean deliveries. According to some surveys, the presence of placenta accreta fluctuates from 5% to 10% of women with placenta previa. Moreover, a Cesarean delivery also contributes to the increased possibility of a future placenta accreta.

Complications and health consequences

One of the most remarkable problems for the baby is the premature delivery and subsequent complications. When placenta accreta occurs, it commonly results in a premature delivery. In term of the woman’s health, the placenta may be difficult to separate from the uterine wall. The most primary concern for the mother is hemorrhaging during manual attempts to detach the placenta. Severe hemorrhaging can be life-threatening. Additionally, other concerns involve the damage to the uterus or other organs (percreta) during the removal of the placenta.

How is placenta accreta diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you have placenta accreta, they will examine your condition. Then your doctor may order some imaging test (an ultrasound or an MRI, for example) may be done to see how the placenta is implanted in your uterine wall. You should understand that these tests are painless and safe for you and your baby. Your blood may also be tested for a rise in alpha-fetoprotein, a protein produced by your baby, and the amount tends to increase if you have placenta accreta.

Treatment options for placenta accreta

After diagnosing, your healthcare provider will monitor your pregnancy with the intent of scheduling a delivery and using a surgery that may spare the uterus. It is particularly essential to discuss this surgery with your doctor if you desire to have additional children. Unfortunately, placenta accreta may be severe enough that a hysterectomy is required. Again, it is completely necessary to consult surgical options with your healthcare provider.


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