What Is Placenta Accreta?
Placenta accreta is a serious pregnancy condition in which your placenta grows too deeply into the wall of your uterus.
The placenta supplies oxygen and food to your growing baby through the umbilical cord.
During labor, it normally separates from your uterus right after your baby is born. But when the placenta attachment is too deep into the wall of the uterus, it can't easily separate.
The condition increases your risk of dangerous bleeding and other problems during childbirth.
About 1 in every 272 pregnant women have placenta accreta.
If you have placenta accreta, it's vital to work closely with your health care team to have a safe pregnancy and delivery.
Placenta accreta causes
Doctors think a defect in the lining of your uterus causes placenta accreta. It's more likely to happen if you have scarring in your uterus.
Other related placenta conditions include:
- Placenta increta — the placenta attaches even more deeply into the muscle wall of the uterus.
- Placenta percreta - the placenta grows through the uterus and possibly into nearby organs like the bladder.
Risk factors and complications of placenta accreta
You might have a higher risk of placenta accreta if you have or have had:
- One or more past c-sections. The risk increases with each c-section.
- Fibroid removal or other surgery on your uterus.
- Asherman's syndrome, a condition that causes scar tissue to form in your uterus.
- Placenta previa — your placenta sits too low and covers your cervix.
- Several pregnancies.
Women who are older than 35 also have a higher risk.
Placenta accreta is very dangerous for moms-to-be.
It may cause a life-threatening hemorrhage when you're giving birth to your baby. It might also cause you to go into labor too early.
How to prevent placenta accreta
There isn't a way to prevent it. But you can greatly reduce your risk by only having a c-section if it's medically necessary. That prevents scarring in your uterus.
Make sure you tell your ob-gyn about your surgical history.
If they think you're at risk, they can do an ultrasound early to check your placenta.