Updated 03 June 2015

Abruptio Placentae

This is the premature detachment of a normally positioned placenta from the uterus wall.


Abruptio Placentae is the premature detachment of a normally positioned placenta from the wall of the uterus, occurring during the pregnancy rather than after labour. The placenta may detach incompletely, between 10 and 20 %, or completely.

The uterus will bleed from the site where the placenta was attached and symptoms include vaginal bleeding, sudden continuous or crampy abdominal pain and tenderness where the abdomen is pressed. The diagnosis is usually confirmed with an ultrasound scan. This is a serious condition and although occurring in differing degrees, may be life-threatening for the foetus as the detachment reduces the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the foetus. This condition is more likely to occur in the third trimester of pregnancy or during labour.

The usual treatment is bed rest, unless the bleeding is life-threatening, the foetus is in distress or the pregnancy is near term. If bleeding continues, an early delivery may often be best for both the mother and baby. If a vaginal delivery is not possible, a caesarean section is performed.

(Mandy Borraine, Health24)


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