Abruptio Placentae


(Placental Abruption)


Abruptio placentae, also known as placental abruption or placenta abruption, is the premature placental separation from the uterus lining. This pregnancy complication usually occurs during the later part of pregnancy.

Vaginal bleeding, uterine tenderness and pain, back pain, disseminated intravascular coagulation, hemorrhagic shock are some of the occurrences that can go on when experiencing abruptio placentae. It can be dangerous for both mom and baby as mom can lose a lot of blood, and the baby could die from lack of food and oxygen.

The exact cause of placental abruption is unknown. Once you are diagnosed with abruptio placentae, you are considered a high risk pregnancy patient. Some of the things that can contribute to it is high blood pressure, cocaine or drug use, heart disease and arthritis. A serious trauma like a fall or auto accident can trigger the pregnancy problem as well.


Placental abruption is sometimes confused with placenta previa. It is also at times associated with incompetent cervix. It is thought that placenta abruption can contribute to an incompetent cervix.

An ultrasound scan can be used when watching an abruption of the placenta. Ultrasound in pregnancy is a painless procedure which uses sound waves to create an image of the baby in utero on a screen.

Once diagnosed, depending on the level or size of abruption, treatment is as follows:

If the abruption is small, bed rest may be sufficient treatment. Medicine to stop or prevent contractions may be given if delivery is too far off.

If the placenta abruption is large, hospital stay for several weeks may be necessary. Also, the baby may need to be delivered early.

Things to do:
a. Bed rest is important to slow down bleeding. Only to use the bathroom and bathe, should you get out of the bed. This also includes avoiding heavy lifting.

b. Do not have sex until approved by your doctor.

c. Eat only healthy food. Choices from the 5 food groups are ideal. (Fruits, vegetables, breads, meat and fish, and dairy.)

d. Continue taking medicine that your doctor prescribes.

Contact your doctor:
a. If your baby is moving less than normal.
b. If you are having any uterine contractions.

Go to the hospital Immediately:
a. If you have abdominal pain.
b. If you experience vaginal bleeding or spotting during pregnancy in your 2nd or 3rd trimester.
c. If you feel weak or faint.

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