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Recognition of Abruptio Placenta and Its Complications

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Abruptio placenta is the abnormal separation of the placenta and the wall of the uterus. This condition usually occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy, but may also occur after 20 weeks. It can become a serious medical condition and can become life threatening with severe bleeding. The placenta is a part of your baby’s life system. This is where oxygen and nutrients are transported from the mother to the baby. Because of the separation, the transfer of the substances is interrupted and can threaten the life of your baby. The exact cause of Abruptio placenta is unknown, but it is believed to be related to injury to the belly area or when there is sudden loss of amniotic fluid causing the placenta to be sucked from the uterus.

How to recognize abruptio placenta

Vaginal bleeding occurs in most cases of abruptio placenta. The vaginal bleeding may range from a small amount of spotting to obvious and sudden gush of blood. The blood can be bright red or dark in color. In some cases, vaginal bleeding will not be manifested. This is when the blood can’t go out of the uterus because it is located behind the placenta. When this happens, you may feel pain in your back or your belly. When you have a large placenta abruptio, it will feel very painful with a bump feeling in your belly and back. Other symptoms of abruptio placenta include spotting or vaginal bleeding if your water breaks, tenderness or pain in your belly and the back, frequent contraction or contractions that do not end and inactive baby (your baby does not move as much as before).

What are the risks of abruptio placenta?

Complications of abruption placenta may be severe and life threatening for the mother and the baby. Knowing how to do first aid to persons with bleeding or shock can be of great help in preventing potential life threats and death. Early recognition and of the symptoms of abruption placenta and early transport to the emergency department can also help you in managing potential complications.

Abruptio placenta

Administering CPR

Since the placenta is necessary for the transport of oxygen and nutrients to the baby, abruptio placenta can lead to decreased oxygen that results in brain damage and still birth. The separation of placenta with your uterus can cause heavy bleeding and eventually shock. Premature delivery of your baby is safer than keeping the baby inside your uterus. In some cases, your doctor may opt for you to undergo hysterectomy.

First aid for abruptio placenta

The condition can be a medical condition and most of the time there is no time to provide a first aid to the mother and the baby but instead they should be taken to a hospital immediately. However, it is possible to keep track of the symptoms and note the medications taken by the pregnant woman and give the list to the doctor. Stay beside the pregnant woman who might pass out during transport. In this case, monitor breathing and apply CPR when necessary.


Better Health Channel. Placental Abruption. Retrieved on July 5, 2014 from

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