Placental abruption (separation of placenta)

Abdomen | Obstetrics and Gynaecology | Placental abruption (separation of placenta) (Disease)


Placental abruption is a serious condition in which the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth. It can separate partially or completely.

If this happens, your baby may not get enough oxygen and nutrients in the womb. You also may have serious bleeding. Normally, the placenta grows onto the upper part of the uterus and stays there until your baby is born.

During the last stage of labor, the placenta separates from the uterus, and your contractions help push it into the vagina (birth canal). This is also called the afterbirth.

The main symptom of placental abruption is vaginal bleeding. You also may have discomfort and tenderness or sudden, ongoing belly or back pain. Sometimes, these symptoms may happen without vaginal bleeding because the blood is trapped behind the placenta.

Causes and Risk factors

The specific cause of placental abruption is often unknown. Possible causes include trauma or injury to the abdomen — from an auto accident or fall, for example — or rapid loss of the fluid that surrounds and cushions the baby in the uterus (amniotic fluid).

Diagnosis and Treatment

Placental abruption can only truly be diagnosed after birth, when the placenta can be examined. There are a few methods that are used to try to make this diagnosis during pregnancy so that proper treatment can be applied. In a case with a total or complete separation, delivery is often the safest course of action. If the fetus is stable, vaginal delivery may be an option. If the fetus is in distress or the mom is experiencing severe bleeding, then a cesarean delivery would be necessary.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment that can stop the placenta from detaching and there is no way to reattach it. ...

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