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What is placental abruption?

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2019 | Uncategorized |

One of the most serious complications that can arise during your Kentucky pregnancy is that of placental abruption. As the Mayo Clinic explains, while placental abruption occurs rarely in the U.S., happening in only about 0.6% of all births, it nevertheless represents a grave risk to your baby. In fact, your baby has a nearly 12% chance of dying from placental abruption as compared to a 0.8% chance of death in all other births.

As you probably already know, the placenta develops in your uterus while you are pregnant, attaching itself to your uterine wall. This allows it to provide oxygen and nutrients to your developing baby. If part or all of it separates from your uterine wall, this is the classic definition of placental abruption. Your baby immediately suffers oxygen deprivation.

Risk factors

No one knows exactly why placental abruption occurs. However, your risks increase under the following circumstances:

  • You suffer an injury to your abdomen while pregnant
  • You smoke cigarettes, use illicit drugs or drink alcohol while pregnant
  • You suffer from hypertension; i.e., high blood pressure, even when not pregnant
  • You go through this pregnancy later in life
  • You carry twins or triplets
  • Your placenta abrupted during one of your previous pregnancies


Unfortunately, placental abruption often occurs suddenly and without any warning. Therefore, you should be on the lookout for any of its following symptoms:

  • Unusual pain in your abdomen or back
  • Unusual uterine firmness when you touch your abdomen
  • Premature and usually rapid contractions
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting

Remember, however, you may see no evidence of vaginal bleeding or spotting at all if placental abruption occurs. Why? Because your uterus often traps the blood.

Placental abruption represents a medical emergency. Call 911 immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms. You and your baby need medical assistance, and you need it now. Your lives could well depend on it.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.