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Placenta accreta is a high-risk condition that occurs during pregnancy when the placenta begins growing too far into the uterine wall. When the placenta grows too deep, this can cause excessive bleeding for the mother when she gives birth due to the placenta not detaching from the uterine wall after delivering the baby.
Placenta accreta may be linked to uterine surgeries or c-section scarring in the uterus, but a woman may develop placenta accreta without having had uterine surgery. High levels of alpha-fetoprotein, a protein produced by the baby’s liver, may also cause placenta accreta.
Risk factors that can be associated with placenta accreta include:
Ensure you share your full medical history with your doctor when discussing these risk factors before and during your pregnancy.
While there are no signs or symptoms of placenta accreta during pregnancy, bleeding in the third trimester may be caused by this condition. There is no sure way to diagnose or prevent placenta accreta, but this can sometimes be found during an ultrasound in routine appointments.
If you have risk factors for placenta accreta, discuss with your doctor about testing. Your doctor can test with an ultrasound, MRI or a blood test to check your alpha-fetoprotein. Diagnosing placenta accreta usually occurs during delivery due to the lack of signs and symptoms of the condition.
If diagnosed before delivery, your doctor is prepared to treat placenta accreta. To keep both mother and baby safe, it is recommended to deliver the baby via c-section and then remove the mother’s uterus with the placenta attached. Discuss with your doctor before delivery if you may want children in the future, as this surgery will affect you. If you decide against a hysterectomy due to wanting more children in the future, more complications may arise in the future with this procedure.
Ensure you understand your options when it comes to placenta accreta during your pregnancy. At Banner Health, we focus on the physical and emotional health of you and your baby throughout your journey. If you have any questions, Banner Health is here to help.