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  4.  – What is placental abruption?

What is placental abruption?

If you are an Oregon expectant mother, your health and that of your developing baby is foremost in your mind. As you progress into your third trimester, one of the things you should be on the lookout for are the symptoms of placental abruption, a rare but very serious complication of some pregnancies.

The Mayo Clinic explains that placental abruption is the separation of the placenta from your inner uterine wall. It can happen very suddenly and if it does, both you and your baby are at grave risk for injury and even death. Your baby receives oxygen and nutrients from the placenta, and when it separates from your uterus, he or she can be deprived of both.

Placental abruption symptoms

If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate medical help:

  • Sudden abdominal or back pain
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Uterine firmness or tenderness
  • Contractions, often rapid and continuing

Be aware that vaginal bleeding from a placental abruption is not necessarily copious. In fact, if the blood becomes trapped in your uterus, you may have no visible bleeding at all.

Placental abruption risk factors

While most placental abruptions occur as the result of your abdomen being injured and/or traumatized, such as from a car crash or fall, other risk factors include the following:

  • Smoking and/or drug use
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Chorioamnionitis (infection inside your uterus)
  • Carrying twins, triplets or more babies
  • Being an older mother, especially over the age of 40
  • Placental abruption in a previous pregnancy

The most important things you can do during your pregnancy to lessen the chances of a placental abruption are to see your health care provider regularly, report any unusual symptoms, monitor your blood pressure, always wear your seat belt in the car, and never smoke or use drugs, particularly cocaine. This information is provided for educational purposes, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.