Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Placental Abruption Anatomy

To better understand placental abruption, it helps to understand the anatomy of the uterus, cervix, and Fallopian tubes.

The placenta is attached to the wall of the uterus. It delivers oxygen and nutrients from the mother's bloodstream to the fetus, during the pregnancy. The normal position of the placenta within the uterus is away from the cervix. The placenta is firmly attached to the wall of the uterus. Bleeding within the placenta can cause the placenta to pull away from the wall of the uterus, resulting in placental abruption.

Anatomy of the female reproductive tract includes:

  • The uterus, cervix, and vaginal canal
  • The bladder
  • The fallopian tubes:
    • These paired structures connect each ovary to the uterus
  • The ovaries:
    • One on each side of the uterus. A normal adult ovary is about the size of an unshelled almond
  • Female organs during a pelvic examination

The fetus grows within the amniotic sac within the uterus:
  • The fetus within the amniotic sac
  • The near term fetus within the uterus
  • Ultrasound of fetus and placenta

Last Updated: Nov 6, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Placental Abruption References
  1. Hladky K, Yankowitz J, Hansen WF. Placental abruption. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2002 May;57(5):299-305. [11997676]
  2. Kayani SI, Walkinshaw SA, Preston C. Pregnancy outcome in severe placental abruption. BJOG. 2003 Jul;110(7):679-83. [12842059]
  3. Neilson JP. Interventions for treating placental abruption. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(1):CD003247. [12535464]
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