Risk factors for placenta abruptio

The causes of placenta abruptio are not well understood, and some women develop it without any identifiable cause. But you can reduce your risk by treating or avoiding some of the known risk factors that have been linked to placenta abruptio.

Your risk may be increased if you:

  • Have high blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg or higher), whether it is chronic or has been caused by the pregnancy (gestational hypertension or preeclampsia). High blood pressure is the most common risk factor linked to placenta abruptio.
  • Have had a placental abruption before. If you have had more than one abruption, your risk is greater.
  • Smoke cigarettes. The more you smoke, the greater your risk of abruption.
  • Use cocaine. This puts you at high risk for abruption.
  • Have a physical injury to your uterus, such as from a motor vehicle accident or from a direct blow to the abdomen.
  • Have had a premature rupture of membranes (PROM) for more than 24 hours. Also having an infection in the uterus raises this risk.
  • Have a history of uterine problems, such as a uterine fibroid where the placenta is attached.
  • Have a blood-clotting disorder that makes your blood more likely to clot. This is a disorder that can run in families, or is inherited.

Risk factors that slightly increase your abruption risk include:

  • Past pregnancy.
  • Aging. The incidence of placenta abruptio increases slightly with maternal age.
  • Pregnancy with multiple fetuses.
  • Past cesarean delivery (C-section).

Last Updated: February 23, 2010

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