Placental abruption is the early separation of a normal placenta from the wall of the uterus. The placenta is an organ that grows in the uterus during pregnancy to provide nourishment and oxygen to the baby.
Normally the placenta separates from the uterus and is delivered right after the birth of the baby. When placental abruption occurs, the placenta starts to tear away from the uterus before the baby is born. It can cause serious problems for the baby and the mother.
You are at higher risk for placental abruption if you:
The symptoms of placental abruption are:
The doctor will give you a physical exam, looking for signs of blood loss. These tests may be done:
The treatment for placental abruption depends on:
If the separation of the placenta is small, the baby isn't in distress, and your condition is stable, you may be able to go home and continue the pregnancy with frequent checkups.
If you are admitted to the hospital, you will be given intravenous (IV) fluids. A fetal monitor will be used to check the baby for signs of distress. If the separation is moderate to severe, your blood pressure, pulse, and amounts of urination will be closely checked. Lab tests will be run on your blood to check its ability to clot. You may be given blood transfusions.
If the separation is moderate to severe but the baby is not in distress and your condition is stable, the doctor may induce labor and perform a vaginal delivery. If the baby is in distress or if you are losing a lot of blood, the doctor will deliver the baby immediately by cesarean section.
Sometimes placental abruption begins and then stops without treatment. As long as you and the baby are healthy, your pregnancy can continue with frequent checkups by the doctor. A mild case of placental abruption will probably have no long-term effects on your health or your baby's health.
A moderate to severe separation of the placenta may have the following effects on you after delivery:
Placental abruption may have the following effects on the baby:
Good prenatal care and a healthy diet may prevent high blood pressure during pregnancy. Prevention of high blood pressure decreases the risk of abruption.