Our doctors are passionate about keeping mothers and babies safe, offering a 24/7, on call team for placenta accreta spectrum.

What is Placenta Accreta Spectrum?

Placenta accreta spectrum – a high-risk pregnancy condition that happens in 1 in 272 births in the U.S. annually – occurs when the placenta doesn’t separate from the uterus after giving birth because it attaches itself and grows too deeply to the uterine wall due to scarring after a C-section or other uterine surgery. It can also occur without a history of uterine surgery. This can lead to serious complications during pregnancy and delivery, including:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding (hemorrhaging) requiring a blood transfusion
  • Premature delivery
  • Hysterectomy

Types of Placenta Accreta Spectrum

There are three types of placenta accreta spectrum that can occur depending on how deep the placenta attaches and grows into the uterus:

  • Placenta accreta: Most common type where the placenta attaches firmly to the uterine wall.
  • Placenta increta: When the placenta grows more deeply into the muscle wall of the uterus.
  • Placenta percreta: Most severe type where the placenta grows through the uterus wall, and sometimes into nearby organs (i.e., bladder or intestines).

illustration of types of placenta accreta spectrum; accreta, increta and percreta

Risk Factors for Placenta Accreta Spectrum

You have a rare chance of developing placenta accreta spectrum if you have risk factors like:

  • Previous C-section, dilation and curettage (D&C) or uterine surgery
  • Placenta previa diagnosis
  • Being over 35
  • Pregnancy through in vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Smoking
  • Uterine fibroids
Dawn watching Dr. Kang hold baby

Dawn's Placenta Accreta Story

How is Placenta Accreta Spectrum Diagnosed?

Your doctor might see signs of placenta accreta spectrum during a normal ultrasound. If your ultrasound shows signs of placenta accreta spectrum and you are at risk for the condition, your doctor will refer you to one of our high risk OBs.

If you need prenatal care, our perinatal navigator can help you schedule the care you need and get information from your OB/GYN to our high-risk obstetrics team. In addition, your navigator can tell you what to expect and understand your care plan, so you feel more ready for delivery. 

How is Placenta Accreta Spectrum Treated?

If you are diagnosed with placenta accreta spectrum, you need to deliver your baby via cesarean section (C-section) at the hospital. In our designated OR for placenta accreta procedures, during your C-section surgery, your doctor will make an incision in your abdomen and uterus. They can then deliver your baby through this incision.

Depending on how deeply the placenta has grown into your uterine wall, you may or may not need a hysterectomy (uterus removal). You and your doctor can work together to plan for this possibility.

At Memorial Regional Hospital, our teams have the processes and plans in place to safely deliver your child. We have years of experience treating this condition and providing safe outcomes. And our team of obstetricians, maternal-fetal medicine, trauma physicians, anesthesiologists, nurses, blood bank technicians and other specialists are always ready to care for you.