During a normal pregnancy, placenta attaches to the uterine wall, however in rare cases the placenta attaches too deeply to the wall of the uterus. This condition is referred to as placenta accrete, placenta increta or placenta percreta depending on the varying degrees of severity and the depth of the placenta attachment.
Placenta Accreta: Occurs when the placenta is attached too deep in uterine wall but it doesn’t penetrate the uterine muscle. This is the most common condition and accounts for three quarters of all cases.
Placenta increta: Occurs when the placenta is attached deeper into the uterine wall but doesn’t penetrate the uterine muscle. Placenta accreta is the second most common and accounts for about 15% of all cases.
Placenta percreta: Occurs when the placenta pierces the uterine wall and attaches to an organ such as the bladder. Placenta percreta is the rarest of the three conditions only accounting for about 5% of all cases.
Placenta accreta commonly results in premature delivery which can cause complications for the baby. If you notice bleeding during the third trimester it may be a warning sign of presence of placenta accreta. The main concern for the mother is that the condition can cause haemorrhages during delivery when the placenta attempts to detach from the uterine wall. Haemorrhaging can be life threatening to the mother if severe enough. Other concerns include damage to the uterus and other surrounding organs. If the placenta attaches to too much of the uterus, then a hysterectomy will be required to stop the bleeding.
If placenta accreta is diagnosed, your healthcare practitioner will examine your condition and may prescribe medication, bed rest and whatever else is necessary to cause the pregnancy to go full term. There is nothing that can be done to prevent this condition and there is also no treatment for placenta accreta. Your health care practitioner will be able to advise you on the best care possible for you and your baby if this condition is present during your pregnancy.