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What problems occur with a deeply attached placenta?

A pregnant woman usually has a million thoughts going through her mind about her labor and delivery. One thing that many women don't think about is the possibility of fatal placenta complications occurring in their pregnancy. Even though the women might not think about them, the doctors who care for pregnant women should always be on the lookout for these types of issues. One of the serious issues that can occur is when the placenta attaches too deeply to the uterine wall.

What are the the names of these placenta issues and how often do they occur?

Depending on how deeply and severely the placenta is attached, the condition is classified as placenta accreta, placenta percreta or placenta increta. These three conditions occur in only around one out of every 2,500 pregnancies.

What is placenta accreta?

Placenta accreta is the least severe of all three types, and it occurs in around 75 percent of these cases. In this instance, the placenta is attached too deeply to the uterine wall, but it isn't attached so deeply that the muscles are penetrated.

What is placenta percreta?

Placenta percreta is the most serious of these cases, and it occurs in around 5 percent of cases. In this instance, the placenta penetrates through the uterine wall and muscle, and it attaches to another organ. In some cases, that organ is the bladder.

What is placenta increta?

Placenta increta is in the middle of the other two conditions, and it occurs in around 15 percent of cases. In this instance, the placenta attaches too deeply in the uterine wall and it penetrates the uterine muscle.

When one of these placenta issues is present, surgical delivery of the baby is usually necessary. In some cases, it might be possible to spare the uterus, but a hysterectomy might be necessary. If a woman has a placenta issue and it isn't handled properly, she and the baby are at risk of death. Mishandling of these conditions can lead to medical malpractice lawsuits.

Source: American Pregnancy Association, "Placenta Accreta," accessed Nov. 17, 2016

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