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Placental Abruption

Connecticut Placental Abruption Lawyers for Affected Families Due to Malpractice

A pregnant woman holding her womb.Placental abruption is a complication of pregnancy that can present risks for both the mother and the baby. Also known as abruptio placentae, placental abruption occurs when the placenta pulls away from the uterus prematurely – prior to delivery. It most often occurs in the second and third trimesters, and the risks involved depend on the timing and severity of the abruption.

About one in 100 mothers will experience placental abruption during their pregnancy. During pregnancy, doctors should monitor for signs of placental abruption, and mothers who present with symptoms of placental abruption should be diagnosed and treated promptly in order to mitigate the risk of negative outcomes. Similar to other types of birth injuries, in many cases, negative outcomes resulting from placental abruption can be attributed to malpractice. If you need help, reach out to the trusted Connecticut placental abruption attorneys at Berkowitz Hanna.

What Is Placental Abruption?

During pregnancy, the placenta grows in the uterus along with the fetus. It is commonly described as the fetus’s “lifeline,” as it supplies the fetus with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. However, in order to serve as the fetus’s lifeline, the placenta must remain attached to the uterine wall. If the placenta breaks away from the uterine wall, this can potentially be dangerous or even fatal, depending on the extent to which the connection between the fetus and the mother is disrupted. When the placenta separates from the uterine wall, this is described as placental abruption.

Why Does Placental Abruption Occur?

While doctors still do not know the precise cause of placental abruption, it has been linked to a number of different risk factors. Known maternal risk factors for placental abruption include:

  • Abdominal injuries
  • Being over the age of 35
  • Being pregnant with multiples (i.e., twins or triplets)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Placental abruption during a prior pregnancy
  • Preeclampsia
  • Thrombotic disorders
  • Tobacco and cocaine use
  • Uterine abnormalities
  • Vasculitis and other vascular disorders

Having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that an expecting mother will experience placental abruption during her pregnancy. However, it does increase the chances that her fetus will experience complications. As a result, when an expecting mother presents with one or more of these risk factors, her doctor should closely monitor for signs of fetal distress and take appropriate action to help ensure the fetus’s safety.

What Are the Symptoms of Placental Abruption?

Placental abruption typically occurs no earlier than the twentieth week of pregnancy. From this point onward, mothers and their doctors should monitor for symptoms of fetal abruption through the date of delivery. Common symptoms of placental abruption during pregnancy include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • A drop in blood pressure
  • Vaginal bleeding

Doctors typically use ultrasounds to diagnose placental abruption. Blood tests can also help to pinpoint a diagnosis, and checking the fetus’s heart rate will help determine if he or she is experiencing distress as a result of experiencing a limited supply (or loss of) food or oxygen.

What Are the Risks of Placental Abruption?

A baby lying on her pregnant mother's womb.Placental abruption can present risks for both the mother and the baby. For mothers, the risks relate primarily to the loss of blood resulting from the abruption, while the risks for the baby include those related to both lack of nutrition and lack of oxygen. Risks for the mother in the event of placental abruption include:

  • Complications associated with the need for a blood transfusion or hysterectomy
  • Issues with blood clotting
  • Kidney or other organ failure
  • Shock

Risks for the fetus in the event of placental abruption include:

  • Complications due to anoxia or hypoxia
  • Complications due to premature birth
  • Developmental delays or disabilities
  • Restricted growth

How Can Doctors Prevent Complications Caused by Placental Abruption?

For doctors, preventing complications caused by placental abruption involves diagnosing the mother’s condition promptly and providing appropriate care and treatment recommendations. This includes performing a prompt cesarean (C-section) delivery if necessary or managing the risks for the mother and the fetus during vaginal delivery. With partial abruptions, it may be possible to manage the risks in order to allow the fetus to continue to develop in the womb. Bed rest, administration of corticosteroids, and other treatment modalities can help to prevent unnecessary harm to the mother and the baby.

Free Consultation With Skilled Connecticut Placental Abruption Attorneys

The physical, psychological, and financial consequences of a doctor’s failure to timely diagnose and treat placental abruption can be devastating for many families. If you need help recovering, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with one of our experienced Connecticut placental abruption lawyers in confidence, please call or contact us online today.