Dr. Morice: Placental Abruption

Dr. Trey Morice provides prenatal and gynecologic care to women in Morgan City, Louisiana. He also specializes in tubal reversal surgery. Today we will discuss placental abruption.
What is placental abruption?
Placental abruption, also known as abruptio placentae, is when the entire placenta or a part of the placenta prematurely detaches from the mother’s uterus during pregnancy. This condition typically occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is a rare condition that affects 1% of all pregnancies in the US. Although rare, this is a very serious condition that can seriously hurt and even kill both mother and fetus.
What are the symptoms of placental abruption?

Placental abruption symptoms include abdominal or back pain, uterine contractions, a tender uterus, an abnormal heart rate for mother or fetus, and sometimes vaginal bleeding. The severity of symptoms depends on the severity of the abruption. Severe placental abruption can lead to maternal shock and fetal death.
If you are pregnant and experience sudden abdominal pain, frequent contractions, severe back pain, or vaginal bleeding, contact your doctor immediately.
What are the causes of placental abruption?
Doctors have been unable to pinpoint a cause for placental abruption, but risk factors have been identified. 44% of all cases involve mothers with hypertension. Trauma, such as a car accident, fall, or abuse, is associated with 9% of cases of placental abruption. Smoking, cocaine use, and alcohol increase the risk of placental abruption. Women younger than 20 or older than 40 years old also have an increased risk of placental abruption.
How is placental abruption treated?
Treatment of placental abruption depends on the degree of the separation and the distress that the mother and baby are in.
If the placental abruption is partial, meaning the placenta hasn’t completely detached, and neither the baby nor mother are expressing abnormal heart rate or other signs of distress, bed rest can be prescribed until the baby is full term. Other emergency procedures such as blood transfusions may be needed, and close fetal monitoring will be used.
If the placenta has completely detached, however, delivery is the best option. Without an attached placenta, the fetus has no way to get oxygen and nutrients, and therefore needs to be delivered. Unfortunately there is no way to reattach the placenta. Delivery can be vaginal or via C-section depending on the stability of the fetus.
Looking for an OB-GYN in Morgan City, Louisiana? Dr. Trey Morice provides top-notch healthcare in his state of the art Atchafalaya clinic. He also offers low-cost tubal reversal surgery for those interested in restoring their fertility.
Call our office at (985) 702-BABY to make an appointment today! We look forward to meeting you!

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