Placental abruption: A sometimes fatal condition

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2019 | Birth Injuries

The natural experience of a woman going through labor is sometimes cut short when her vital signs begin to plummet. This is sometimes due to placental abruption. This condition occurs when the woman’s placenta detaches from the uterine wall before the baby is born. Not only can this threaten the mother’s life, but the baby’s life also hangs in the balance.

When the placenta detaches, it can cause heavy bleeding in the mother. This also means that the baby isn’t getting oxygen or any other nutrients. This is what makes the condition a medical emergency that must be handled immediately.

It is sometimes possible for a woman who isn’t even in labor to experience a placental abruption. For this reason, any pregnant woman should become familiar with the signs of this life-threatening emergency.

  • Back pain
  • Contractions that are rapid
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • A firm abdomen that might be tender

These symptoms usually come on suddenly, so you should get medical care right away if you notice anything that might signal this. The treatment you will have depends on how far in the pregnancy you are, as well as how severe the abruption is.

If you are 34 weeks or beyond, you will likely deliver the baby. If the abruption is partial, you may have a chance at a vaginal birth. In many cases, doctors opt for a surgical delivery. Prior to this point in pregnancy, you may receive medications to help your baby’s lungs mature. A partial abruption might be closely monitored, sometimes by admitting you into the hospital. In other cases, the baby must be delivered, even if it is too early.

When this condition isn’t handled properly, the mother and baby might suffer. Victims of these cases might pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit.


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