Placental abruption is a medical condition that occurs during pregnancy when the placenta partially or completely detaches from the uterus wall before delivery. The placenta is an organ that develops during pregnancy and provides oxygen and nutrients to the developing fetus.
Causes of Placental Abruption
The exact cause of placenta abruption is still unknown, but several factors can increase the risk of its occurrence.
- Trauma or Injury. A direct blow to the abdomen, such as a car accident or a fall, can cause the placenta to detach from the uterine wall.
- High blood pressure. Chronic hypertension or pregnancy-induced hypertension can increase the risk of placental abruption.
- Smoking. Women who smoke during pregnancy have a higher risk of placental abruption than non-smokers.
- Usage of Drugs. Illicit drug use, especially cocaine, is strongly associated with an increased risk of placental abruption.
- Previous history of placental abruption. Women who have had a placental abruption in the last pregnancy are at a higher risk of experiencing it again in subsequent pregnancies.
- Uterine abnormalities. Conditions such as uterine fibroids or malformations can increase the risk of placental abruption.
- Multiple pregnancies. Women carrying twins, triplets, or multiple pregnancies have a higher risk of placental abruption than those carrying a single fetus.
- Maternal clotting disorders. Certain blood clotting disorders, such as thrombophilia, can contribute to the development of placental abruption.
- Premature rupture of membranes. When the membranes surrounding the foetus rupture before 37 weeks of gestation, it can increase the risk of placental abruption.
Symptoms of Placental Abruption
Some common signs and symptoms include
- Vaginal bleeding. This is the most common symptom of placental disruption. The bleeding may range from mild to severe. It can be bright red or dark in colour and may or may not be accompanied by clots.
- Abdominal pain. Women with placental abruption often experience sudden and intense pain or tenderness. This pain may be localised to one side of the abdomen.
- Uterine contractions or a firm uterus. Placental abruption can cause the uterus to contract and become firm.
- Back pain. Some patients may experience severe back pain, particularly if the placental abruption occurs at the back of the uterus.
- Foetal distress. Placental abruption can lead to decreased foetal oxygen and nutrient supply, resulting in foetal distress.
Treatment of Placental Abruption
In cases of placental abruption, immediate attention is necessary to minimise potential complications. Here are some of the common treatments for placental abruption.
- Monitoring. Continuous monitoring of the mother and the baby is essential to assess the severity of the abruption.
- Intravenous fluids. Intravenous fluids may be administered to maintain hydration and stabilise the mother’s blood pressure.
- Blood transfusion. If significant blood loss has occurred, a blood transfusion may be necessary to replace lost blood and restore adequate oxygen-carrying capacity.
- Oxygen therapy. Supplemental oxygen may be provided to ensure optimal oxygenation for both her and the baby.
- Medications. If required, it may be given to manage pain, prevent preterm labour, and stabilise the mother’s blood pressure.
- Delivery. The decision to deliver the baby depends on the severity of the placental abruption, the gestational age of the foetus, and the condition of both the mother and baby.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Gynecology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Placental abruption is a condition during pregnancy where the placenta partially or completely detaches from the uterine wall before delivery. Its symptoms may include vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, and uterine contractions. Immediate medical attention is crucial, and treatment options include monitoring, intravenous fluids, blood transfusion etc.
FAQ’s about Placental abruption
Q. What causes placental abruption?
A. The exact cause of placental abruption is unknown. Still, risk factors include trauma or injury, high blood pressure, smoking, drug use, previous history of abruption, uterine abnormalities, advanced maternal age, multiple pregnancies, maternal clotting, and premature rupture of membranes.
Q. What are the symptoms of placental abruption?
A. The symptoms of placental abruption may include vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain or tenderness, uterine contractions or a firm uterus, back pain, and foetal distress.
Q. Can placental abruption be prevented?
A. While prevention is not always possible, specific measures can help reduce the risk of placental abruption. These include avoiding risk factors such as smoking and drug use, managing hypertension, receiving proper prenatal care, and seeking medical attention.
Q. Is placental abruption common?
A. Placental abruption is relatively rare. However, it is a serious condition that requires immediate medical intervention.
Q. What are the potential complications of placental abruption?
A. Placental abruption can pose risks to both mother and the baby. Complications may include severe bleeding, maternal shock, foetal distress, preterm birth, low birth weight, placental insufficiency, and stillbirth.