Symptoms of Placental Abruption during Pregnancy

By Ashley | December 2, 2009
Placental Abruption Symptoms

Placental abruption is a condition where the placenta detaches from the uterus, causing bleeding. This condition usually occurs in the third trimester. It is a critical complication as the placenta is responsible for the supply of blood, nutrients, and most importantly oxygen for the baby.

While it is hard to identify one particular cause for placental abruption, there are a few factors that could be classified as potential contributors. Some of these include alcohol consumption, smoking or the use of cocaine, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, abdominal injury, or multiple gestations. Women who have babies after the age of 35 are also vulnerable to this condition.

Placental abruption symptoms

The first sign of placental abruption is vaginal bleeding. If the abruption is small, there might be just a few spots of blood. However, if the abruption is large or even complete then the bleeding will be continuous and profuse. In addition to this, the expectant mother will also have other symptoms of placental abruption like abdominal pain, cramping, and dizziness. Some women experience nausea as well as low blood pressure. In certain cases, there is no bleeding externally, as the blood collects within the uterus under the placenta. Here, one of the signs is premature contractions or endless contractions. Sometimes, placental abruption also causes the woman's water to break, causing a premature delivery.

In most cases of placental abruptions, doctors will look to do a cesarean so that the baby can be taken out as quickly as possible. However, sometimes if the abruption takes place too early in the gestation, doctors recommend hospital admittance, round the clock monitoring, and strict bed rest to ensure there is little stress for the baby. Also, the mother is given medication to assist the baby's lung growth.

Placental abruption also triggers off consumptive coagulopathy. This is a condition where the abruption uses the blood clotting elements by binding them together and this increases the risk of unstoppable bleeding. If not taken care of immediately, the bleeding could continue through the urinary tract too.

Placental abruption is a health risk for both the mother and the baby. For the mother, this condition leads to severe blood loss, lack of clotting ability, as well as lack of oxygen to the kidney and heart. For the baby too, this leads to loss of oxygen and a possible risk of fetal hemorrhage. Also, if the abruption leads to premature birth then the baby could suffer health risks arising from that.

If there is just a little spotting then it's best to consult a doctor and perhaps put your feet up for the rest of the day. If the bleeding is intense, the sensible option is to drive down to the nearest hospital and get medical help as soon as possible

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