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University Health

Placenta Accreta

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Placenta Accreta

If you have a condition that affects your placenta during pregnancy, look for experienced, specialized care from the maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) doctors at University Health in San Antonio, Texas.

Placenta Conditions

The placenta provides nutrients to your fetus during pregnancy. Typically, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall and comes out after the baby.

Sometimes the placenta attaches too deeply to the uterus — but has not penetrated the uterine muscle — and is not able to deliver naturally. This is known as placenta accrete. Depending on the severity of the placenta attachment, your condition could also be known as placenta increta (when the placenta implants deeper into the uterine wall) or placenta percreta (completely penetrates the uterine wall and possibly other organs).

Potential Complications of Placenta Accreta

Placenta accreta can cause pregnancy complications such as:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding (hemorrhaging) after birth that can cause life-threatening blood loss if not treated
  • Early labor and premature birth for your baby if bleeding begins during your pregnancy

Placenta Accreta Signs & Symptoms

Often there are no signs or symptoms of placenta accreta. Vaginal bleeding during the third trimester could be a sign of a placenta problem. If you bleed anytime during your pregnancy, talk to your doctor right away.

Testing & Diagnosis

Your doctor uses ultrasound scans to diagnose placenta accreta. Most often, placenta accreta is found during a routine ultrasound in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Sometimes doctors use a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test to see how deep the placenta is in your uterine wall.

Expert Treatment

Expertise is essential when developing a plan for delivery with placenta accreta. Find support and high-quality treatment of high-risk pregnancy conditions at our high-level maternal care center. The Level IV maternal and neonatal center at University Health has specialists with extensive experience in treating placenta accreta.

Delivery

If your doctor diagnoses you with placenta accreta early, you’ll deliver your baby via Cesarean section. Your doctor will decide if you can safely deliver early or at full-term based on the risk to you and your baby.

Sometimes after delivery, a hysterectomy may be necessary to prevent severe blood loss.

Multidisciplinary Care Team

Receive personalized, family-centered care for you and your baby. Your multidisciplinary care team may include:

Doctors
  1. Brook Thomson, MD
    Obstetrics & Gynecology
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  2. Robert Schenken, MD
    Obstetrics & Gynecology
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  3. Sarah Vanarendonk, MD
    Obstetrics & Gynecology
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