Pregnancy Placental Abruption

Placental abruption also referred to as abruptio placentae is an obstetric calamity and a grave pregnancy complication, in which the placental coating has detached from the uterus of the pregnant woman. Placental abruption is the most common reason for late pregnancy bleeding.

Women who suffer from placental abruption experience an unnatural detachment from the womb after 20 weeks of gestation period and prior to delivery. This particular problem takes place in approximately one percent of pregnancies worldwide with a fetal fatality rate of approximately 25-45% depending on the intensity and level of detachment.


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Placental abruption is also known to be a substantial contributor to maternal fatality rate.

Effects of Pregnancy Placental Abruption

Placental abruption can have the following effects on the mother:

  • Massive blood loss or hemorrhage from ruptured vessels may call for blood transfusions and extensive medical attention after delivery.
  • The uterus is not likely to constrict in the right manner after delivery and hence the mother may require medication to help the uterus to resume its original position.
  • The mother is likely to experience blood clotting issues for some days after delivery.
  • In the event of a caesarean section, if the blood of the mother does not coagulate, blood transfusions could place the mother into disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) due to elevated thromboplastin (a particular enzyme liberated from blood platelets), the doctor may also opt to go in for a hysterectomy.
  • A particularly intense case of shock is likely to affect the main organs of the body, such as the liver, urinary tract, and endocrine gland.
  • In certain cases where the placental abruption is slight or in the event of minor placental abruption, there is usually no presence of bleeding, but intense pain might be experienced.

Effect On the Fetus

  • If a large amount of the placenta detaches itself from the womb, the baby is likely to be in a state of adversity until delivering the child. It is possible that the fetus might expire in utero, leading to miscarriage or spontaneous abortion.
  • The baby might be immature or pre-term and may need to be positioned in an intensive care unit. The child is likely to experience difficulties with respiration and feeding.
  • If the baby happens to suffer from distress in utero, the baby may show a low level of oxygen in the blood immediately after delivery.
  • The newborn may exhibit abnormally low blood pressure or a low blood profile.
  • If the detachment is serious enough, the baby may suffer brain impairment or injury and may pass away before or immediately after delivery.
Pregnancy Placental Abruption
Pregnancy Placental Abruption
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