What is a separated placenta and what causes it?

The placenta is an organ that grows in the uterus during pregnancy to provide nourishment and oxygen to the baby.  Separated placenta is when the placenta separates (of course!) from the uterine wall.  Typically this does not occur until after the baby is born and the umbilical cord is cut.  If this occurs before delivery, it is abnormal and is referred to as Placental Abruption.

There are several factors that can contribute to a separated placenta, including:

–  pregnancy after the age of 35

–  multiple pregnancies;  risk increases after the 4th or 5th birth

–  multiple gestation (twins or more)

–  cocaine use

–  diabetes

–  previous placental abruption.

If the separation of the placenta is small, the baby isn’t in distress, and your condition is stable, you may be able to go home and continue the pregnancy with frequent checkups.  If the separation is moderate to severe but the baby is not in distress and your condition is stable, the doctor may induce labor and perform a vaginal delivery.  If the baby is in distress or if you are losing a lot of blood, the doctor will deliver the baby immediately by cesarean section.

What is a separated placenta and what causes it?