The placenta is the organ that supplies food and oxygen to the baby during pregnancy. Placental abruption is when the placenta detaches from the wall of the womb (uterus) before delivery. The most common symptoms are vaginal bleeding and painful contractions. The cause is unknown, but high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, cocaine or alcohol use, injury to the mother, and having multiple pregnancies increase the risk for the condition. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and can range from bed rest to emergency cesarean section.
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Hull AD, Resnik R. Placenta previa, placenta accreta, abruptio placentae, and vasa previa. Creasy RK, Resnick R, Iams JD, et al, eds. Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 46.
Review Date 4/20/2016
Updated by: Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.