Abruptio Placenta


Abruptio Placenta (Inpatient Care) Care Guide

Abruptio placenta is when all or a part of the placenta pulls away from your uterus before your baby is born. The placenta brings oxygen and nutrition from you to your unborn baby. Abruptio placenta can be life-threatening for both you and your baby.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


  • Medicines used when you have abruptio placenta may cause you to have fast heartbeats. You may be at risk for blood clots and bleeding problems. When your placenta pulls away from your uterus, you may bleed large amounts. You may need a blood transfusion to replace the blood you lost. With abruptio placenta, your kidneys may fail, and your heart may not work as it should. Abruptio placenta may be life-threatening, and you may die.

  • If you have abruptio placenta, your unborn baby may not receive the oxygen and nutrition it needs to grow and survive. Your unborn baby may have problems with his heart rate. Your baby is at risk of dying while he is still in your uterus. Your baby may be born too early, and his lungs may not function properly. If your baby is born too early, he may be very small, and he may die. Your baby may also be at an increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) after he is born.

  • After giving birth to your baby, you may need surgery to remove your uterus if you are bleeding uncontrollably. If you need surgery to deliver your baby, you may get an infection or bleed more than expected. Clots may form in your blood vessels, move to your lungs and cause trouble breathing. Talk your caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your condition, medicine, or care.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Blood tests:

You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

IV fluids:

IV fluids may be given if you have lost a large amount of blood. Fluids may be given to keep your blood pressure normal. IV fluids are given through an IV. An IV is a tube placed into your vein for giving fluids and other medicines.

Foley catheter:

You may need a Foley catheter so your caregivers can check how much you are urinating. A Foley catheter is a tube that is put into your bladder to drain your urine into a bag. Avoid pulling on the catheter because this may cause pain and bleeding, and the catheter may come out. Do not allow the tube to kink because this will block the flow of urine. Keep the bag of urine attached to the Foley catheter below your waist. This will prevent the urine from flowing back into your bladder.


An ultrasound uses sound waves to show pictures of your uterus on a TV-like screen. The pictures help show the amount of fluid inside your uterus. The ultrasound can show the location of your placenta and if you have any blood clots. Your baby's position inside your uterus may also be seen. You may need to have more than one ultrasound when you have abruptio placenta.


You may be given the following medicines:

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by germs called bacteria. Antibiotics may be needed if you have an infection in your uterus or placenta.

  • Steroids: Steroid medicine may be given if you need to deliver your baby earlier than expected. Steroids help your baby's lungs to function and prevent breathing problems after he is born.

  • Tocolytics: Tocolytics are given to stop contractions if your baby is not ready to be born. Contractions are when the muscles of your uterus tighten and loosen.

  • Pain medicine: Medicines may be given to decrease or take away your pain. You may feel pain if your uterus is contracting. You may also have pain when your placenta pulls away from the wall of your uterus.

  • Blood thinners: Blood thinners may be given to help prevent clots from forming in your blood.


Ask your caregiver for more information about the following:

  • Contraction monitor: A contraction monitor is used to show when you have a contraction, and how long it lasts. A monitor is a machine that has a recording device attached to a TV screen or printer. The monitor may also show how strong your contractions are.

  • Fetal monitor: Caregivers may use a fetal monitor to check your baby's heartbeat. You may need to keep the monitor on at all times. You may also only need to wear the monitor when your caregiver feels it is needed.

  • Vital signs: Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.

Treatment options:

  • Bed rest: You may need to be on bed rest until your baby is ready to be born. Bed rest may help to keep you and your baby out of danger. Talk to your caregiver about what activities are OK while you are on bed rest.

  • Blood transfusion: You may need a blood transfusion if you lose a large amount of blood. During a blood transfusion, donated blood is given to you through an IV.

  • Delivery of your baby: Early delivery of your baby may be needed when you have abruptio placenta. If your due date is close, and you have a partial abruption, you may be able to give birth vaginally. If your abruption is severe or complete, a C-section is commonly done. A C-section may also be done if you have heavy bleeding, or you or your baby is in danger.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Abruptio Placenta (Inpatient Care)