Placental abruption can be a life-threatening complication for both mother and baby. Know the signs and seek medical help immediately.

Placental Abruption

Placental abruption occurs when part of the placenta separates from the uterus before delivery. Bleeding can be detected through the vagina, or may be concealed in the uterus but both are often associated with pain in your abdomen. While most abruptions are small and don’t impact on mom or baby, if placental abruption is suspected medical assistance is required immediately as the condition can threaten the life of both mother and baby.


Women with placental abruption may experience abdominal or back pain, uterine contractions or bleeding. Any direct injury to the abdomen during pregnancy such as during a fall or automobile accident could cause placental abruption. If you experience any such injury, seek immediate assessment from your health care provider.

Risk Factors

  • High blood pressure
  • Previous history of placental abruption
  • Smoking during pregnancy
  • Cocaine use during pregnancy
  • Drinking during pregnancy
  • Maternal age (40 +)
  • Multiple foetuses or pregnancies