A placental abruption occurs when the placenta partially or completely separates itself from the uterus. Symptoms of placental abruptions include vaginal bleeding in variable amounts, uterine tenderness, back pain, frequent contractions, limited movement of the baby, abdominal pain and cramping. That being said, some women have experienced no bleeding whatsoever, as the lost blood sometimes accumulates in the uterus instead. Placental abruptions can also sometimes cause pregnant women to go into premature labour. The high risk of severe bleeding associated with placental abruption can harm both mother and baby, but there are additional risks to babies to mothers who experience this condition. Placental abruptions can deprive babies of oxygen and nutrients to the point where they may not grow and develop properly as a result. In severe and untreated cases, placental abruptions can cause stillbirths.

Risks associated with placental abruption include chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, carrying multiples, smoking, cocaine and meth use, uterine fibroids, blood clotting disorders, abdominal trauma due to an accident, having an excess of amniotic fluid and/or a history of previous placental abruption. If you have any of the signs mentioned above, contact your health practitioner immediately.