During pregnancy, an organ called the placenta forms on the wall of the uterus and attaches to the superficial uterine lining. The placenta passes blood from the mother to the baby, giving the baby oxygen and nutrients until birth.
Normally, the placenta separates from the uterus and is expelled when the baby is delivered. However, in some cases, the placenta grows too deeply into the muscles of the uterus and does not separate during birth. This is known as abnormally invasive placenta, also called morbidly adherent placenta.
Women who have had some type of damage to the lining of the uterus may have an increased risk of abnormally invasive placenta. The main risk factors include:
There are three types of abnormally invasive placenta ranging from mild to severe, depending on how far the placenta grows into the uterine lining:
Abnormally invasive placenta has no symptoms, so it may not be diagnosed until the baby is born and the placenta does not detach as expected.
Prenatal ultrasound testing may detect the condition if the border or texture of the placenta appears to be abnormal. If the obstetrician suspects abnormally invasive placenta, they may order an MRI scan to try to confirm the diagnosis. Even so, it may still be difficult to know for sure until the baby is born.
Mercy’s maternal and fetal medicine specialists develop personalized treatment plans for every woman with this challenging condition.
Most women with abnormally invasive placenta fully recover with no lasting problems, and the baby’s health is usually not affected at all. Your Mercy care team is here to help you and your baby have a safe and healthy delivery.