What is Placenta Accreta?

Placenta Accreta is a rare pregnancy complication that occurs when the placenta doesn’t separate from the wall of the uterus after birth.

It can cause excessive bleeding, which can be life-threatening for the mother and baby.

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Types of Placenta Accreta

Placenta Accreta is divided into three grades:

Grade I: The placenta attaches only to the endometrium or lining of the uterus.

Grade II: The placenta goes through the myometrium or muscle layer of the uterus.

Grade III: When the placenta penetrates tissues deeper than the myometrium.

What Causes Placenta Accreta?

Placenta Accreta is caused by the placenta abnormally attaching itself too deeply and firmly to the uterus.

It often occurs when there are scar tissues in the uterus from prior C-sections, dilation and curettage, myomectomy, or other uterine surgery procedures.

Signs & Symptoms

The most common signs and symptoms of placenta accrete include:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased uterine contractions
  • Prolonged labor
  • Inability to deliver the baby vaginally
  • A sudden drop in blood pressure

Risk Factors

Risk factors for placenta accrete include a history of:

  • Prior cesarean sections
  • Uterine abnormalities
  • Scarring from previous surgeries
  • Advanced maternal age
  • Multiple gestation pregnancies


Diagnosis occurs during pregnancy. Diagnostic tests for placenta accrete include ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a biopsy.


Treatment depends on the disorder's severity and the patient's preferences.

She may need a cesarean delivery (C-section) rather than attempting a vaginal birth.

If a C-section is not possible, other surgeries may be needed to safely deliver the baby and separate the placenta from the uterus.

CHRISTUS Children's - The Fetal Care Center

When the unexpected fetal anomaly occurs, the Fetal Care Center at CHRISTUS Children's connects pediatric specialists to pregnant women and their families, regardless of where they plan to deliver their baby.

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