If you are an expectant mom in California, your growing baby likely is almost always on your mind. You worry about his or her health, safety and welfare, and you do everything you possibly can to make sure that (s)he – and you – have everything you need to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery. During your third trimester, one of the things you should watch for is any sign of placental abruption.

As the Mayo Clinic explains, placental abruption is a reasonably rare occurrence, but when it happens, both you and your baby face grave danger. As you know, (s)he receives both oxygen and nutrients via the placenta, and if it separates from your uterine wall, the definition of placental abruption, his or her supply of both becomes compromised. It also results in your receiving internal injuries.

Symptoms to watch for

While placental abruption can result from an injury to your abdominal area, it more often occurs spontaneously and for no apparent reason. If you notice any of the following symptoms during your third trimester, call 911 immediately so you can receive emergency medical treatment at the nearest hospital:

  • Sudden vaginal bleeding
  • Sudden tenderness or firmness in your uterus
  • Sudden pain in your back or abdomen
  • Sudden contractions, especially rapid ones

You should also be aware that a placental abruption sometimes occurs without your experiencing any vaginal bleeding at all. In these situations, the reason you see no blood is because it is trapped inside your uterus.

Placental abruption risk factors

Your risk of suffering a placental abruption is higher if one or more of the following apply to you:

  • Smoking or drug usage
  • Abdominal injury
  • High blood pressure
  • Carrying more than one baby
  • Older mother
  • Placental abruption during a previous pregnancy

Your best strategy for preventing a placental abruption is to see your doctor regularly during your pregnancy, never smoke, drink or take drugs while pregnant, and always wear your seat belt when riding in a vehicle. While this information is not legal advice, it can help you understand placental abruption and what to expect.