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Can a placental abruption result in injury or death of the mother?

Filed under: Birth Injuries, Featured

A placental abruption is a condition that develops when the placenta peels away from the uterus during the term of the pregnancy.  Depending on the location of the abruption and the degree to which the placenta has pulled away from the uterus, hemorrhaging commonly develops.

Risk of hemorrhaging

The bleeding related to a placental abruption poses challenges for both mother and baby as the developing fetus relies on an intact placenta for oxygen, nutrients and the removal of waste products.  With respect to the mother, the hemorrhaging related to the placental abruption needs to be identified and timely controlled in order to prevent excessive blood loss that can result in serious medical complications or even death.

The most common risk factors for a mother developing a placental abruption include:

  • Hypertension / high blood pressure during the pregnancy
  • A history of placental abruption
  • Diabetes
  • Uterine distension
  • Maternal age
  • Numerous prior deliveries

In order to determine if a mother’s bleeding is indeed related to a placental abruption or another source, a physician may order one of the following tests:

  • Abdominal ultrasound to look for blood clots
  • A complete blood count (CBC), which may note decreased hematocrit or hemoglobin and platelets
  • Nonstress test to look for signs of fetal distress
  • Prothrombin time test
  • Partial thromboplastin time test
  • Fibrinogen level test

Failing to identify episodes of placental abruption

Woman a confirmed diagnosis of placental abruption commonly require medical intervention to protect themselves and their baby.  If a doctors fails to identify and treat the symptoms related to placental abruption and an injury results to the mother or child, a medical negligence lawsuit may be pursued to recover damages related to medical expenses, disability or death.
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