Placental abruption (abruptio placentae) is not a common complication of pregnancy, but it is a serious condition.

The placenta develops in the uterus during pregnancy. It appends to the walls of the uterus and supplies the fetus with nutrients and oxygen. Placental abruption happens when the placenta, in part or totally, separates from the walls of the uterus before delivery. This can diminish or obstruct the baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients and can cause substantial bleeding in the mother.

Placental abruption frequently happens suddenly. Left untreated, it is dangerous to both the mother and the baby.


Placental abruption usually happen in the last trimester of pregnancy, particularly over the few weeks before birth. Signs and symptoms of placental abruption may include the following:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Backpain
  • Uterine tenderness
  • Uterine contractions
  • Firmness in the uterus or mid-region

Stomach pain and back pain frequently start suddenly. The extent of vaginal bleeding can shift, and doesn’t really compare to the part of the placenta that has separated from the uterus.


If your doctor speculates placental abruption, he or she will do a physical exam to check for uterine tenderness or firmness. To help recognize the sources of vaginal bleeding, your doctor will request for blood tests, urine tests and ultrasound.

During an ultrasound, sound waves create an image of your uterus on a screen. You may not always see a placental abruption on an ultrasound.


It is impossible to reattach a placenta that has separated from the walls of the uterus. Treatment choices for placental abruption rely upon several conditions.

If it’s too early for the baby to be conceived or if it is before 34 weeks of pregnancy, you may be hospitalized for monitoring. If bleeding stops and your baby’s condition is stable, you may rest at home.

In most cases, you may be offered drugs to enable your baby’s lungs to develop, if the baby is delivered early.

If the baby is near full term, and if abruption advances or endangers your or your baby’s health, you’ll need to deliver through cesarean section.

In case of heavy bleeding, you may require a blood transfusion.

Related Articles


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Referred pain is a phenomenon where pain is perceived at a [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Quinoline yellow is a synthetic food colorant commonly used in the [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Pneumothorax is a condition characterized by the presence of air in [...]