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Usually the afterbirth or placenta separates from the wall of the womb after the baby is delivered. When some degree of separation occurs when the baby is still in the womb the condition is called placental abruption.
Placental Abruption is a serious clinical condition. It may be seen in pregnant women with high blood pressure, after a sudden break of waters, in cases of multiple pregnancies or in women with other medical disorders. However, the condition is often unpredictable and presents as an emergency.
Abruption often presents as bleeding in the later part of pregnancy along with abdominal pain. On examination, the womb is tender and there is varying degrees of distress to the baby inside the womb. In the severe cases, the bleeding may be concealed i.e. occurs inside the tummy or more commonly in the wall of the womb. Severe compromise and often death of the baby occurs in severe cases of abruption. Maternal complications include heavy blood loss, clotting disorders and kidney dysfunction.
Early suspicion and prompt diagnosis of the condition is the key to success. Delivery should be done in the fastest possible way. If the baby is alive a cesarean section is often the best mode of delivery especially when the neck of the womb is not open. As the chances of the baby being distressed are high, neonatologists need to be informed for looking after the baby immediately after the delivery. In conditions where the baby has already died in the womb, urgent delivery is still warranted keeping in view the maternal complications possible.
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