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What is placental abruption?

If you are a New York mother-to-be, your daily life likely is filled with constant thoughts about your developing baby and ways in which you can keep him or her as safe and healthy as possible. Unfortunately, however, you do not have control over everything concerning your pregnancy. Placental abruption represents one of those things, and if you develop it, your baby could be permanently damaged or even die. So could you.

The Mayo Clinic explains that placental abruption occurs only rarely, accounting for only 0.6% of all births. Nevertheless, your baby stands a 12% chance of dying from this rare occurrence, compared to a 0.8% chance of dying from all other births combined.

Placental abruption symptoms

As you know, your developing baby receives oxygen and nutrients from you by way of the placenta, the organ that grows inside your uterus during pregnancy and attaches to its wall. In a placental abruption, the placenta detaches from your uterine wall, depriving your baby of his or her vital oxygen and nutrients. As you might expect, this results in an immediate medical emergency.

Stay alert for any of the following placental abruption symptoms during your pregnancy:

  • Any vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • Any unusual pain in your back or abdomen
  • Any unusual firmness in your abdomen
  • Early contractions, often quite rapid

Often, however, placental abruption causes no symptoms since your uterus traps the blood coming from the detached placenta.

Placental abruption risk factors

Your risk for placental abruption increases with any of the following:

  • If you suffer an abdominal injury while pregnant
  • If you suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure) whether or not pregnant
  • If you smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs while pregnant
  • If you carry two or more babies
  • If you become pregnant later in life
  • If you suffered a placental abruption in one or more of your earlier pregnancies

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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