What is placental abruption?

As an expectant mother, the life and health of your baby is your first concern. However, pregnancy can be a complicated process with many risks. One of the greatest risks is placental abruption. This pregnancy complication occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine wall. When the placenta detaches, the baby is unable to receive any oxygen or nutrients through the umbilical cord or placenta. Because placental abruption is life threatening, it is imperative to deliver the baby as soon as possible—either by cesarean section or, if the baby has made significant progress out of the birth canal, through a vaginal delivery.

Causes of Placental Abruption

placental abruption

Often, a pregnant woman will know placental abruption occurred because she will experience extreme abdominal pain, especially if she is in labor. If she is already at the hospital, the doctor will diagnose the mother with placental abruption because the baby’s heart rate will decelerate with no sign of recovery.

In general, medical professionals cannot point to a specific cause of placental abruption; however, the Mayo Clinic cites trauma or injury to the abdomen as a possible cause. Car accidents or a trip and fall can cause this pregnancy complication. When trauma to the abdomen occurs, the mother might experience a rapid loss of the amniotic fluid cushioning the baby.

What Are the Risk Factors?

Sometimes placental abruption occurs without warning, but some women are at a higher risk. If any of the following factors apply to you, work closely with your doctor to continually monitor the health of your baby:

  • Previous placental abruption. If you’ve experienced placental abruption before, your risk is higher to experience another.
  • High blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, either as a result of pregnancy or as a pre-existing condition, your risk is higher.
  • Blood clotting issues. If you have a history of blood clotting problems, your risk is greater.
  • Older age. Women who become pregnant later in life have a higher risk of this pregnancy complication.

Placental abruption can happen to any pregnant woman and can threaten the life of both baby and mother. If you have questions about the cause of your placental abruption, contact the experienced attorneys at Holton Law. Give us a call at 888-443-4387, or fill out our contact form to learn more about your legal options.