DEFINITION--Partial separation of the placenta (after-birth) from the uterus
during the last third of pregnancy.
BODY PARTS INVOLVED--Uterus.
SEX OR AGE MOST AFFECTED--Females.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Small separation of the placenta:
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Mild pain or discomfort.
- Unborn child (fetus) remains healthy.
- Heavy vaginal bleeding.
- Severe pain in the lower abdomen.
- Hard, tender abdomen.
- Shock (rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing and dizziness).
- Fetal distress; fetal heartbeat may be inaudible.
RISK INCREASES WITH
- Women over age 35.
- Women who have had several pregnancies.
- Women who smoke.
- A direct blow to the uterus.
- High blood pressure.
- Abuse of alcohol or drugs.
HOW TO PREVENT
- If pregnant, don't engage in activity more vigorous than what you were accustomed to
- Avoid risk factors if possible.
What To Expect
- Your own observation of symptoms.
- Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
- Laboratory studies, such as blood counts, blood-clotting tests and ultrasound
examination (See Glossary) of the uterus.
APPROPRIATE HEALTH CARE
- Doctor's treatment.
- Hospitalization (except for mild cases).
- Surgery to deliver the fetus by cesarean section, or vaginal delivery (sometimes).
- Shock or life-threatening bleeding in the mother.
- Child born brain damaged.
- With immediate medical care, the outlook for mother and fetus is excellent.
- With delay of medical care and prolonged heavy bleeding, mother and fetus may not
How To Treat
GENERAL MEASURES----Abruptio placenta is an emergency, but there is usually time
to obtain advice by telephone and arrange safe transportation to the hospital. Panic is
not helpful. If the placenta separation is slight, your doctor may permit you to return
home for bed rest and close observation after examination.
MEDICATION--Your doctor may prescribe:
- Oxytocin to induce labor, if immediate delivery is necessary.
- Intravenous fluids.
- Blood transfusions.
ACTIVITY--Rest in bed until bleeding and other symptoms cease and your doctor
approves a return to normal activity.
DIET--No special diet. Drink fluids only until your doctor determines that
surgery is not likely. Solid food may cause risk if emergency surgery becomes necessary.
Call Your Doctor If