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Placenta abruptio

  • Alternative Names

    Premature separation of placenta; Ablatio placentae; Abruptio placentae; Placental abruption


    Treatment may include fluids through a vein (IV) and blood transfusions. The mother will be carefully monitored for symptoms of shock. The unborn baby will be watched for signs of distress, which includes an abnormal heart rate.

    An emergency cesarean section may be needed. If the baby is very premature and there is only a small placental separation, the mother may be kept in the hospital for close observation. She may be released after several days if the condition does not get worse.

    If the fetus is developed enough, vaginal delivery may be done if it is safe for the mother and child. Otherwise, a cesarean section may be done.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The mother does not usually die from this condition. However, all of the following increase the risk for death in both the mother and baby:

    • Closed cervix
    • Delayed diagnosis and treatment of placental abruption
    • Excessive blood loss, leading to shock
    • Hidden (concealed) uterine bleeding in pregnancy
    • No labor

    Fetal distress occurs early in the condition in about half of all cases. Infants who live have a 40-50% chance of complications, which range from mild to severe.


    Excess blood loss may lead to shock and possible death in the mother or baby. If bleeding occurs after the delivery and blood loss cannot be controlled in other ways, the mother may need a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus).

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if you are in an auto accident, even if the accident is minor.

    Call your doctor right away if you have bleeding during pregnancy. See your health care provider right away, call your local emergency number (such as 911), or go to the emergency room if you are pregnant and have vaginal bleeding and severe abdominal pain or contractions during your pregnancy. Placental abruption can quickly become an emergency condition that threatens the life of both the mother and baby.