Placental Abruption – What Are the Reasons & Risk Factors

While complications during pregnancy are dependent on numerous factors, there are certain complications that may arise at any given point. The idea here is to keep you well-informed about the complications. And for most of the complications arising during pregnancy there are medical remedies as well, so just be aware of the warning signs so that you can reach out for help on time and save your pregnancy.

And one such complication that may arise during pregnancy is placental abruption. Placental abruption while uncommon is a serious complication that arises during pregnancy. Scroll down to read all about – placental abruption and how you need to deal with it.

What Is Placental Abruption?

Do you know that placenta is a temporary organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy? In a normal case, it is found on the upper part of the uterus. Placenta joins mother and fetus. Oxygen and nourishment are transferred from the mother to fetus through the placenta. Normally, it will get peeled off from the uterine wall after the delivery. Placenta abruption is the condition in which the placenta gets detached from the inner wall of the uterus either partially or completely much before the delivery date.

Placental abruption is quite a serious condition as it cuts off oxygen supply and nourishment for your baby and also results in heavy bleeding; Thus, putting both you and your baby’s life at risk.

Placental abruption is found to occur one in every hundred pregnancies. But, placental abruption putting the life of mother and child at risk occurs only once in every 1500 delivery.

What Are The Reasons And Risk Factors That Lead To Placental Abruption?

Exact reasons for placental abruption is not known yet, however, there are some factors that may increase your risk of having placental abruption like –

  1. Multiple pregnancies: Multiple pregnancies tend to increase the uterine distention (bulge due to internal pressure) which in turn can trigger placental abruption. In another case, after the delivery of the first baby, the uterine wall may undergo some changes thus causing placental abruption before other deliveries thus putting their life at stake
  2. Previous history of placental abruption: If you have had a history of placental abruption with your previous pregnancy then there is a high chance of you experiencing it again
  3. Your age: If you are an older mother, crossed 35 years, the risk of placental abruption increases with your age
  4. Abdominal trauma: If your abdominal area is injured badly from a motor accident or from a fall or in case you get a blow to your tummy, the risk of placental abruption increases
  5. High blood pressure: This is an important factor as more than half of the reported placental abruption, the mother is found to have had high blood pressure
  6. Premature rupture of amniotic sac: Rupturing of amniotic sac is one of the reasons for placental abruption
  7. If you are having other complications: If you are having other pregnancy complications such as subchorionic hematoma, umbilical cord problems, uterine fibroid, uterine infections, and etc.
  8. Blood clotting disorder: As the ability of your blood to clot decreases the risk of placental abruption increases. On the other hand, thrombophilia (abnormally increased tendency of the blood to clot) is also found to increase the chances of placental abruption
  9. Unhealthy practices: Placental abruption is more common among women who smoke, use narcotic drugs and drinks alcohol during pregnancy

What Are The Complications That Can Arise Due To Placental Abruption?

The complications that can arise due to placental abruption are as follows –

  1. Hypovolemic shock: This is a condition that develops after heavy loss of blood. It is a state of decreased volume of blood plasma. If not enough blood is transfused this is a life-threatening condition. Kidney failure or permanent organ damage is also an outcome of hypovolemic shock
  2. Hemorrhage during labor: Internal bleeding during labor that can put mother’s life at risk

Placental abruption’s effect on baby includes

  1. Premature birth
  2. Stillbirth or birth with abnormalities due to deprivation of oxygen and nutrients

What Are The Warning Signals Of Placental Abruption?

Mostly reported placental abruption are found to occur during the last trimester of pregnancy. The symptoms of placental abruption are:

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Abdominal pain and back pain that begins suddenly
  • Decreased femal movement
  • Rapid uterine contraction

Also Read: Low lying placenta-all you need to know

How Is Placental Abruption Diagnosed?

Placental abruption can be graded into three categories.

  1. Grade 1: Amount of vaginal bleeding is less. No significant uterine contraction. No blood pressure variation. Normal fetal heart rate. In this case, placental abruption is only diagnosed after delivery when clotted blood is found behind the placenta
  2. Grade 2: Moderate amount of bleeding. Significant uterine contraction. Low blood pressure. Fetal heart rate shows signs of distress
  3. Grade 3: Severe bleeding or concealed bleeding. Increased uterine contraction without relaxations and severe abdominal pain. Blood pressure decreases dangerously. Possible fetal death

Diagnosing of placental abruption mainly depends upon how severe your symptoms and abruption are. Your doctor relies on the following symptoms to diagnose placental abruption even if the bleeding is concealed.

When placental abruption is suspected your doctor will go for an ultrasound.

The heart rate of your baby will be monitored. Declining heart rate indicates placental abruption.

Your blood pressure will be monitored. Your blood pressure tends to decline when you undergo placental abruption due to loss of blood.

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning Disability Expert and Developmental Pead.


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