Placental abruption is a rare but serious pregnancy complication where the placenta completely or partly detaches from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery. In normal conditions, the placenta attaches itself to the wall of the uterus and supplies nutrients and oxygen to the baby in the womb. With placental abruption, the baby is unable to get oxygen supply and nutrients.
According to a 2017 study published in the International Journal of Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics and Gynecology, the incidence of placental abruption is about 0.5 per cent, and is most common in women between 26-30 years of age.
Symptoms of placental abruption
The main symptom of placental abruption is vaginal bleeding that is harmful to the baby and the mother. Among the other symptoms are abdominal pain or back pain, discomfort, uterine rigidity and contractions.
Sometimes, however, there might not be any vaginal bleeding if the blood is trapped behind the placenta.
Causes of placental abruption
There are various factors that can lead to placental abruption. Some of the risk factors include pregnancy with multiple babies, preeclampsia, a traumatic injury during pregnancy, history of high blood pressure, consumption of cigarettes and other drugs and rapid loss of amniotic fluid in the uterus.
Effects of placental abruption on the mother and baby
Placental abruption can harm both the mother and the baby. In the mother, it can lead to blood loss and problems in blood clotting. According to MayoClinic, blood loss also increases the risk of failure of other organs.
In case of the baby, placental abruption restricts the flow of nutrients leading to their restricted growth. It also increases the risk of premature birth or even stillbirth due to lack of oxygen.