Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Placental Separation Overview

Another name for Placental Separation is Placental Abruption.

What is a placental abruption?
In a pregnant woman with a placental abruption, the placenta separates from the inside wall of the uterus before the fetus is delivered. A placental abruption reduces the blood supply to the fetus, which can result in death of the fetus. Causes of placental abruption include abdominal injury, twin pregnancy, and drug abuse. Placental abruption occurs in about 1 percent of pregnancies in the US.

What are the symptoms of a placental abruption?
Symptoms of a placental abruption may include lower abdominal pain, abdominal tenderness, back pain, faintness, rapid pulse, low blood pressure, and vaginal bleeding. Symptoms occur most commonly between the 27th and 32nd weeks of pregnancy.

How does the doctor treat a placental abruption?
Treatment for placental abruption includes medications to prevent preterm labor, intravenous fluids, Rhogam, and delivery of the fetus by Cesarean section.

Continue to Placental Separation Incidence

Last Updated: Oct 21, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Placental Separation 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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