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Placental Abruption

Medical Malpractice Injuries in Kentucky

Placental Abruption is the separation of the placenta from the wall of the mother's uterus during pregnancy. The placenta is the organ that links the baby to the mother. It provides the baby with oxygen and nutrients and removes waste from the baby. The placenta also protects the fetus from infections.

Generally, the placenta stays attached to the uterus until the baby is born; then the placenta is delivered post birth. If the placenta separates or ruptures prior to birth, it can result in serious, sometimes life-threatening, complications to the baby and the mother.

Medical research shows that placental abruption occurs in 9 of every 1,000 pregnancies. Generally, it occurs in the third trimester but may show up as early as the 20th week. Placental Abruption is a serious risk to a healthy delivery, so it is critical that doctors recognize the warning signs of Placental Abruption.

These signs may include:

  • Vaginal bleeding (light to severe)
  • Uterine tenderness
  • Frequent contractions or signs of early labor
  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Fetal heart rate abnormalities

Upon experiencing any of these symptoms, a pregnant mother may undergo medical testing such as an ultrasound, blood tests, fetal monitoring and/or a pelvic examination. Tests may not be conclusive so careful monitoring and medical supervision are important. If you have suffered injuries and are concerned about your rights, call our Kentucky medical malpractice attorney in Louisville.

Causes of Placental Abruption

The exact causes of a Placental Abruption are difficult to determine, however, a traumatic injury to the mother's abdomen (a car accident or direct blow) and the severe loss of amniotic fluid between the births of multiple babies have been linked to placental abruption.

These are just some examples, other risk factors may be:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Drug use
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Previous Placental Abruptions
  • Large number of past pregnancies
  • Over 40 years of age
  • Multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall

Placental Abruption Treatment

Treatment of Placental Abruption largely depends on the severity of the separation and the development of the fetus. Mothers may be put on bed rest or hospitalized and blood transfusions may be necessary depending on the amount of blood loss in the mother. The baby may be monitored via a fetal heart rate monitor. A severe placental separation mandates delivery by means of cesarean section, or a vaginal delivery may be possible in cases where the fetus is developed and it is safe for both the mother and the baby.

If a Placental Abruption is left untreated or is misdiagnosed or the diagnosis is delayed, the mother and baby can experience complications from significant blood loss. The baby may also suffer as the result of premature birth, low birth weight, and health risks from the loss of oxygen and nutrients. In rare cases, severe placental abruption can risk the life of both the baby and the mother.

It is therefore critical that a doctor or medical health care provider is alert to the warning signs of placental abruption. If the mother is thought to be suffering a placental abruption, then proper medical testing should be administered. Finally, the physician should follow appropriate medical procedures in treating the placental abruption.

Find Out Your Legal Options

If you feel that you or a family member has suffered an injury or death as the result of a Kentucky doctor's, or nurse's, or hospital's failure to diagnose a Placental Abruption, failure to timely diagnose a Placental Abruption, or failure to properly treat or manage a Placental Abruption, you may want to contact a Kentucky attorney that handles medical malpractice cases.

Please consider contacting Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC at (502) 242-8877. Brett is a Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer who offers a free consultation to discuss your situation and help you determine if you have a medical malpractice claim.