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A placental abruption can be very serious for mother and baby

Houston area couples who are expecting a baby are usually very excited for the new addition to their family. But occasionally an obstetrical complication occurs that can cause potential injury to both the mother and baby. One such complication is a placental abruption.

A placental abruption occurs when the placenta, a mass that provides nourishment for the baby when it is inside the mother, breaks away from the wall of the uterus. If a partial or full placental abruption occurs, then the baby can suffer from lack of oxygen and nutrients. The mother can suffer from excessive bleeding.

Symptoms of a placental abruption include abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, contractions, and back pain. In order to diagnose a placental abruption, a doctor will typically conduct an examination to check the uterus and perform blood tests and ultrasounds, even though not all placental abruptions are detectable via ultrasound. If an abruption occurs before a baby is 34 weeks, the mother will be closely monitored and placed on bedrest if the situation appears to be mild. If the baby is after 34 weeks or close to full term, then the baby is usually delivered vaginally, if the abruption appears to be mild, or, if necessary, via a C-section.

Medical providers have the obligation to monitor for complications that can give rise to severe birth injuries. If a family believes they have suffered harm because a placental abruption was not diagnosed, then they may want to discuss their concerns with a legal professional who specializes in medical malpractice. An attorney can review medical records and help try to determine what happened to cause the injury to the baby and the mom. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages if a lawsuit succeeds, allowing the mother and child to move past the incident and focus on their new life together.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Placental abruption", accessed on July 4, 2015

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