Еarly diagnosis of conditions placenta praevia and placenta accreta is vital. Expectant mothers should be told that the risk of placenta complications rises after a caesarean or fertility treatment, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in Great Britain comments.
Placenta praevia happens when the placenta attaches in the lower part of the uterus (womb), sometimes completely covering the cervix (neck of the womb).
Placenta accreta is a rare but serious condition when the placenta is stuck to the muscle of the womb and/or to nearby structures such as the bladder.
Both conditions can cause heavy bleeding, particularly towards the end of the pregnancy, because the placenta is low down in the uterus.
The rates of placenta praevia and placenta accreta have increased and are likely to continue to increase as a result of rising rates of caesarean births and the use of assisted reproductive technology, such as IVF, BBC reports.
This is because potential scars in the uterus created by caesareans and fertility treatment mean any subsequent pregnancies are more likely to implant in the scar, causing problems with the placenta.
The highest rates of complication for both mother and baby occur when these placenta complications are only diagnosed at delivery, the RCOG said.
We hope this updated guidance will support healthcare professionals during discussions with women and their partners who may be considering assisted reproduction, particularly IVF, or an elective caesarean birth”, commented prof Eric Jauniaux, lead author of the guidelines.