Pronounced: pluh-SEN-tul ab-RUP-shun
by Diana Kohnle
Placental abruption occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus before the fetus is delivered. The placenta is the organ that provides nourishment for the fetus while it is still in the uterus. In a healthy pregnancy, the placenta remains attached to the uterine wall until after the fetus is delivered.
Some form of the condition affects about one in every 150 births. In very severe forms, placental abruption can cause death to the fetus. This occurs in approximately one in every 500-750 deliveries. Death of the mother from placental abruption is very rare. Infants who survive a birth with the condition have a 40%-50% chance of experiencing complications.
Placental abruption can cause:
The cause of placental abruption is often difficult to diagnose. Some common causes of the condition include:
The following factors increase your chance of developing placental abruption:
In the early stages, you may not have symptoms. When symptoms occur, they may include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. A pelvic exam will also be done to examine your reproductive organs.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
Fluids may be given by IV to replace lost fluids. Blood transfusions may also be given to replace lost blood supply.
The mother and fetus will be carefully monitored for signs of distress or shock, including abnormal heart rates.
To help reduce your chance of getting placental abruption, take the following steps:
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Pregnancy Association
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Bleeding in pregnancy, placenta previa, placental abruption. Lucile-Packard Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.lpch.or... . Accessed December 18, 2012.
Neilson JP. Interventions for treating placental abruption. Cochrane Database for Systematic Reviews. 2009(1).
Placental abruption. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated September 4, 2012. Accessed December 18, 2012.
Placental abruption: abruptio placentae. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.america... . Updated November 2006. Accessed December 18, 2012.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Andrea Chisholm
Last Updated: 11/26/2012