Placental Abruption

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Placental Abruption

Placental abruption happens during pregnancies when the placenta separates from the uterus prior to delivery. The loss of blood associated with placental abruption can lead to fetal brain damage and even death. Approximately 22 children are born stillborn every day due to the condition. Maternal death is much less common, but women who suffer from placental abruptions can be forced to have a hysterectomy if the bleeding cannot be stopped.Risk Factors for Placental Abruption Include:

  • Previous placental abruption
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Advanced maternal age
  • Increased number of prior deliveries
  • Uterine distention
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Cocaine abuse
  • Alcohol consumption

Signs and Symptoms of Placental AbruptionThe warning signs of placental abruption include:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Continuous contractions
  • Back pain

Sometimes, placental abruption can be caused by abdominal trauma. Other rarer causes of placental abruption include vaginal delivery of twins, a decrease in the amount of amniotic fluid, or a short umbilical cord.Testing for Placental Abruption

  • If a woman's physician suspects that she is at risk of placental abruption, a number of tests can take place. Tests include:
  • Physical examination of the mother
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Prothrombin time test and/or Fibrinogen level test
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Nonstress test

Treatment of Placental AbruptionIf it is discovered that a woman is suffering from a placental abruption, her health and the health of her unborn child are monitored very closely throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. Most women will face a few days of hospitalization for close monitoring, which will usually be followed by bedrest at home. While in the hospital, women with placental abruptions can expect to be given an IV for fluid replacement and a possible blood transfusion.

If the fetus is already matured at the time the placental abruption is discovered, a delivery is a possibility, though not necessarily a likelihood. Many women with placental abruption deliver via c-section. It is possible to have a vaginal birth as long as the unborn child is otherwise healthy. If the fetus is not yet mature, as is often the case, the optimal choice is for the pregnant mother to go on complete bedrest with regular follow up from her physician.

Placental abruption is a serious disorder that has a fetal mortality rate of 20 to 40 percent. Because of the risks associated with placental abruption, physicians and health care providers must take placental abruption risks and warning signs very seriously. If your health care provider did not properly monitor you for placental abruption, or if your physician did not adequately follow up on care after the occurrence of a fetal abruption and the child or mother was harmed or injured in any way, you should contact a lawyer immediately. We can give you the information you need to learn if the injury was due to negligence. We can then provide follow up services if you choose to seek legal action.


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