I have always been in pretty good health, so I was surprised one day when my doctor told me my blood pressure was a bit high. She told me to begin watching my salt intake, start exercising, and to try to relax. Well, I intended to follow her advice when I left her office, but the next day I was back to my same habits. I kept using the salt shaker and didn't begin an exercise routine like I had planned. When I went for my next check-up, she told me that my blood pressure was even higher and approaching a dangerous level. I had to begin a blood pressure medication to manage it. I wanted to create a blog to share my story and remind people to listen to their doctors' advice. If a few lifestyle changes can improve your health, then you should make them.
Placental abruption is a rare and serious pregnancy complication that can endanger your unborn babies' lives. The condition affects around 1 in 150 pregnancies, but the risk of the condition is higher if you are expecting twins or triplets. Find out what causes placental abruption and learn more about the steps you may need to take to cope with the condition.
What is placental abruption?
The placenta is a vital organ that is the lifeline between your babies and your blood supply. Throughout your pregnancy, the placenta helps your babies get the nutrients, water, oxygen and antibodies they need to survive. The placenta also helps get rid of waste and unwanted carbon dioxide.
The placenta normally separates from the uterine wall after the birth of a child. Placental abruption occurs when the organ peels away from the wall of the uterus too early. Abruption can occur partially or completely, but in either case, the condition deprives babies of the nutrients and oxygen they need to survive.
How common is placental abruption for twins and triplets?
Experts estimate that placental abruption is around three times more likely if you are carrying twins or triplets. Doctors aren't sure why the risk is higher, but experts believe the increased risk of preeclampsia during multiple pregnancies is attributable to the issue.
The problem most commonly occurs in multiple pregnancies in the third trimester, but the risk increases further once you give birth to the first child.
What are the symptoms?
Placental abruption commonly causes vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain and back pain. You may also experience successive, rapid uterine contractions. Some women experience heavy bleeding, while other expectant moms may only notice light, intermittent bleeding. In fact, some women don't experience any bleeding at all. Nonetheless, if you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately.
How do doctors diagnose and treat the condition?
It's difficult for a doctor to diagnose placental abruption. In fact, you can only make a completely accurate diagnosis after the babies' birth, but your obstetrician or gynecologist will normally recommend certain tests. You may need an ultrasound or a blood test. Fetal monitoring will help spot any problems with your unborn babies.
Doctors cannot reattach the placenta once abruption occurs, so all treatment options aim to protect the unborn babies. The recommended treatment method will vary according to the abruption's severity. With a partial placental abruption, your doctor may simply recommend lots of bed rest. Your healthcare team will also carefully monitor your unborn babies.
With a complete separation, your doctor may recommend delivery of your unborn twins. While this may seem dangerous, this is actually the safest course of action possible. Without an intact placenta, your babies will quickly die. In some cases, your doctor may allow vaginal delivery of the first child, but due to the increased risk to the second child, your medical team may carry out a C-section to deliver your twins.
What are the possible complications?
Any form of placental abruption carries risks. Preterm delivery will result in low birth weight, which can put a newborn child at risk. Sadly, when severe placental abruption occurs, around 15 percent of all newborn babies die.
The condition also presents risks to you. Severe blood loss can occur, and some women go into shock as a result of placental abruption. You may need a blood transfusion to help you recover from the blood loss. Where the medical team cannot control the blood loss, you may need an emergency hysterectomy, which will mean you cannot have any further children. What's more, once you suffer from a placental abruption, you are more likely to experience the condition again.
Placental abruption is a rare but dangerous condition. Talk to an obstetrician or gynecologist, such as those at Central Iowa OB/Gyn Specialists, PLC, for more advice or information about how this could affect your pregnancy.Share
12 January 2016