Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) Consult Series #49: Cesarean scar pregnancy

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2020 May;222(5):B2-B14. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2020.01.030. Epub 2020 Jan 21.


Cesarean scar pregnancy is a complication in which an early pregnancy implants in the scar from a prior cesarean delivery. This condition presents a substantial risk for severe maternal morbidity because of challenges in securing a prompt diagnosis, as well as uncertainty regarding optimal treatment once identified. Ultrasound is the primary imaging modality for cesarean scar pregnancy diagnosis, although a correct and timely determination can be difficult. Surgical, medical, and minimally invasive therapies have been described for cesarean scar pregnancy management, but the optimal treatment is not known. Women who decline treatment of a cesarean scar pregnancy should be counseled regarding the risk for severe morbidity. The following are Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommendations: We recommend against expectant management of cesarean scar pregnancy (GRADE 1B); we suggest operative resection (with transvaginal or laparoscopic approaches when possible) or ultrasound-guided vacuum aspiration be considered for surgical management of cesarean scar pregnancy and that sharp curettage alone be avoided (GRADE 2C); we suggest intragestational methotrexate for medical treatment of cesarean scar pregnancy, with or without other treatment modalities (GRADE 2C); we recommend that systemic methotrexate alone not be used to treat cesarean scar pregnancy (GRADE 1C); in women who choose expectant management and continuation of a cesarean scar pregnancy, we recommend repeat cesarean delivery between 34 0/7 and 35 6/7 weeks of gestation (GRADE 1C); we recommend that women with a cesarean scar pregnancy be advised of the risks of another pregnancy and counseled regarding effective contraceptive methods, including long-acting reversible contraception and permanent contraception (GRADE 1C).

Keywords: cesarean scar ectopic; cesarean scar pregnancy; placenta accreta spectrum.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Cesarean Section*
  • Cicatrix*
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Gestational Sac
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage*
  • Obstetric Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / therapy*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal
  • Vacuum Curettage / methods
  • Watchful Waiting*


  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal
  • Methotrexate