Placenta Accreta

1 What is Placenta Accreta?

A serious pregnancy condition which occurs when blood vessels and other parts of the placenta grow too deeply into the uterine wall is called placenta accreta. Normally the placenta will be removed from the uterine wall after childbirth but with this condition the placenta is still attached and may cause severe blood loss after delivery.

It is also possible that the placenta will grow through the uterine wall (placenta percreta) or will go to the muscles of the uterus (placenta increta). You will need a C-section delivery then a hysterectomy.

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2 Symptoms

There are no signs and symptoms of placenta accreta but sometimes they can be vaginal bleeding within the third semester during pregnancy and it can be seen in an ultrasound. Consult your doctor right away if there is vaginal bleeding.

3 Causes

Placenta accreta is thought to be caused by abnormalities in the lining of the uterus, typically due to scarring after a C-section or other uterine surgery. 

Even without the history of uterine surgery, placenta accreta can still occur.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Making a diagnosis of Placenta Accreta is done by performing several tests.

Consult your doctor right away if you have vaginal bleeding within your third semester.

Before visiting your doctor, ask him if there are restrictions that you need to do before the visit. Ask a family member or a close friend to accompany you and support you to the hospital.

Some of the questions that you can ask your doctor include:

  • What is causing my symptoms?
  • Do I still need tests?
  • What treatments do you recommend?
  • Will I be able to deliver normally?
  • What follow-up care will I do all throughout my pregnancy?
  • Will I have any complications after?
  • Do I need to have a hysterectomy?

Your doctor will also ask you questions such as:

  • When did you first notice vaginal bleeding?
  • Is it continuous or occasional?
  • How severe is the bleeding?
  • Do you have contractions while bleeding?
  • Have you had any uterine surgeries before?

Your doctor will likely examine your baby’s placenta and will conduct some tests such as:

  • blood tests – to check for alpha-fetoprotein which is a protein that is produced by the baby,
  • imaging tests – MRI or ultrasound to check how the placenta is implanted in your uterine wall.

5 Treatment

The most common course of treatment for Placenta Accreta is to have a C-section.

Your doctor will likely conduct a C-section to prevent blood loss if the placenta remains attached after delivery followed by the surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) as early as the week 34 of pregnancy.

Your doctor might include an obstetrical surgeon, anesthesiologist and a pelvic surgeon, and also a neonatologist to treat your baby. C-section will be done by cutting your abdomen and a second incision in your uterus, then after delivering the baby your doctor will remove the uterus to prevent bleeding. You will not become pregnant again after the hysterectomy.

If you choose to allow the placenta and uterus to remain intact and wait for the placenta to dissolve, you may have serious complications such as:

Women are at risk or pregnancy complications with subsequent pregnancies such as premature birth, miscarriage or recurrent placenta accreta if they avoided hysterectomy.

6 Prevention

Placenta accreta cannot be prevented because you cannot control how deep the placenta will attached to your uterus.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

The main homeopathic remedy for placenta accreta is Gossypium.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with placenta accreta.

Having a placenta accreta might be hard for you. You can ease your anxiety by:

  • gathering information so that you will know what can help you feel less anxious,
  • do not be disappointed if you are going to have a C-section because the health of your baby is the most important thing,
  • prepare for hysterectomy because you will no longer become pregnant again or have any menstrual period, you will feel a little depress or sense of loss,
  • find activities to help you relax such as meditation and breathing techniques.

9 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with placenta accreta.

The risk factors of placenta accreta include:

  • if you had uterine surgery or C-section before,
  • if your placenta totally or partially covers your cervix (placenta previa) or is in the lower portion of your uterus,
  • each time you give birth you will be at risk of placenta accreta,
  • mostly in women older than 35,
  • if you have scarring or abnormalities in the tissue in your uterus (endometrium) and submucosal uterine fibroids.

Placenta accreta can also cause complications such as:

  • hemorrhage after delivery that can be fatal because it will prevent your blood from clotting normally (disseminated intravascular coagulopathy),
  • lung failure (adult respiratory distress syndrome) or a kidney failure,
  • you will have a premature birth.