Your Healthy Family: What is placenta accreta? - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: What is placenta accreta?

Accreta can be especially dangerous if it's not caught before delivery. Accreta can be especially dangerous if it's not caught before delivery.

Placenta accreta it's a very rare condition that affects pregnant women.  Accreta can be especially dangerous if it's not caught before delivery, says Dr. Mark Alanis with UCHealth Memorial.

“Placenta accreta is an example of an abnormal placental attachment to the uterus that grows deeply into the uterine wall in is not normally separated after the birth of the baby.  It is a fairly rare event that occurs probably in about one in five hundred to a thousand pregnancies."

There's a range of how deeply the placenta can grow, but in the most severe cases it can grow completely through the uterus reaching the bladder or other organs.  While the condition can occur in first time moms, most famously with Kim Kardashian's first daughter.  Doctor Alanis says it more often affects women who have had a prior C-section delivery.

“We think we know the problem with the prior C-section risk is that the scar that develops in the uterus where the incision is made for a C-section prevents the normal lining of the inside of the uterus to develop during the pregnancy.  With a  subsequent pregnancy the placenta doesn't have that normal attachment to the uterus and instead it directly attaches to the scar, and invades into the uterus more deeply.”

The risk of accreta falls squarely on the health of the mother, immediately after delivery.  For the baby the pregnancy is generally normal.  

Dr. Alanis says the big take away for expecting moms is pretty simple.  “The most important thing for patients to know about placenta accreta is that if you've had one or more C-sections in the past, check to make sure that the placenta location is checked at the time of about the 20 week ultrasound for the baby's anatomy.  At that time we can typically tell whether or not the placenta is very lowly implanted in the uterus.”

In our next Your Healthy Family story, we'll introduce you to Svenja Carlson, a Colorado Springs woman who had the most severe kind of an accreta, everything turned out fine in her delivery, but the entire pregnancy was a touch and go experience.

Svenja says, "It's kind of weird picking out baby things and then secretly in your mind like planning your own funeral and planning what's going to happen you know after you're gone."

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