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Placenta Accreta Spectrum: Things To Know

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner


Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Aug 30, 2022

Placenta Accreta Spectrum: Things To Know

Placenta, or what we call inunan, is an organ that develops during pregnancy. Its purpose is to provide oxygen and nourishment to the growing baby inside the womb. Attached to the wall of the uterus, the mother also delivers it after the baby comes out. But, some women experience placenta accreta spectrum, where the placenta grows too deeply into the wall or lining of the womb. This means it cannot detach after the baby’s delivery. Learn more about the placenta accreta spectrum here.

Placenta Accreta Spectrum is a Serious Condition

Placenta accreta spectrum is a serious condition that can lead to death. Since a part of the placenta does not detach from the womb, it may lead to severe blood loss that might need blood transfusion. 

Besides severe bleeding, it can also result in damage to the uterus or the surrounding organs, which might then require hysterectomy or the surgical removal of the uterus. Of course, this means the loss of the woman’s ability to get pregnant. 

Placenta accreta spectrum may also lead to premature birth of the baby

There Are Three Types

Placenta accreta spectrum has three types depending on how deeply the placenta attaches itself to the wall or lining of the uterus. 

  • Placenta Accreta – The most common type, which affects about 75% of women who develop this condition. Here, the placenta attaches firmly to the lining of the uterus. 
  • Placenta Increta – This occurs when the placenta embeds itself deeply into the wall of the womb. The placenta doesn’t pass through the wall, but it invades the muscle. 
  • Placenta Percreta – The most serious type where the placenta goes through the wall and might even attach to adjacent organs, such as the colon or bladder. 
  • There May Be No Signs and Symptoms During Pregnancy

    Placenta accreta spectrum may not result in any signs and symptoms during pregnancy. However, the woman might experience bleeding during the second half of the pregnancy. 

    Doctors often detect this condition through an ultrasound or MRI procedure before labor and delivery. 

    Treatment Involves Surgery

    It’s crucial for the placenta accreta spectrum to be diagnosed as early as possible. That way, the medical team can further prepare for the labor and delivery. 

    The medical team and the family sets the Cesarean Section weeks in advance. CS reduces the risk of bleeding from the contractions during labor. 

    Should the mother want to get pregnant again, the team will do their best to save the uterus. However, they might ultimately decide to remove it if the placenta appears to be too attached to the wall or has invaded nearby organs. This is because the risk of severe bleeding is reduced when you remove the uterus with the placenta still attached. 

    It Cannot Be Prevented

    Unfortunately, women cannot prevent placenta accreta spectrum. The best option is to detect it early, so the family and medical team can better prepare. 

    The family can also be proactive in detecting the condition by understanding the risk factors. According to doctors, the following increases the risk for placenta accreta spectrum:

    • Age – It is more common in pregnant women older than 35 years old
    • Previous pregnancies – The risk increases as the number of pregnancies increases. 
    • History of placenta previa, where the placenta partially or totally covers the cervix
    • Previous uterine surgery, such as CS

    If you have these risk factors, especially previous CS and placenta previa,  talk to your doctor about the risk of placenta accreta spectrum. 

    Key Takeaways

    Placenta accreta spectrum is a serious condition that may result in severe bleeding, removal of the uterus, and death. It happens when the placenta attaches too deeply into the wall of the uterus and might even attach to the nearby organs. There’s no prevention, but early detection allows the family and medical team to better prepare for labor and delivery.

    Learn more about Pregnancy here

    Disclaimer

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

    General Practitioner


    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Aug 30, 2022

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