Placental Abruption Affects One in 150 Pregnancies
A placental abruption is a serious, life-threatening condition in which the placenta partially or completely separated from a uterus before a baby is born. It can deprive your baby of oxygen and nutrients, and cause severe bleeding that is dangerous for both the baby and mother. It also increases the risk that your baby will have growth problems, be born prematurely, or be stillborn. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Placental abruption, which includes any amount of placental separation before delivery, occurs in about 1 out of 150 deliveries. The severe form, which can cause the baby to die, occurs only in about 1 out of 800 to 1,600 deliveries.”
The cause of a placental abruption can be hard to determine, but may include the following:
- Injury to the belly area from a fall, hit to the abdomen, or car accident
- Blood clotting disorders (thrombophilias)
- Cigarette smoking
- Cocaine use
- High blood pressure (this is linked to about half of all placental abruptions)
- Drinking more than 14 alcoholic drinks per week during pregnancy
- History of placental abruption
- Large number of previous deliveries
- Older mother
- Water breaks before 37 weeks into the pregnancy
So how will a mother know if placental abruption occurs? She may experience abdominal pain, back pain, frequent or continuous uterine contractions, and vaginal bleeding. If you are pregnant and experience any of these symptoms, see a Phoenix doctor immediately.
Doctors will carefully monitor for symptoms of shock and monitor your baby’s heart rate. An emergency cesarean section may be necessary. If the baby is very premature and there is only a small placental separation, a mother could be kept in the hospital for close observation. If the baby is developed enough, vaginal delivery may be done if it is safe for the mother and child.
Regardless of how minor you may think an auto accident or a fall is in Phoenix, go to the emergency room. The earlier placental abruption is detected, the better the mother and baby’s chances for survival are.
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