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While the baby is still in the womb, a complication can arise where the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus. The placenta is an organ that is vital to the growth and life of the fetus. It not only supplies the baby with oxygen, but it provides nutrients and gets rid of waste material.
On average, the placenta is nine inches long and about an inch thick. It weighs approximately one pound and is dark blue or red in color. It is located on the wall of the uterus and it connected to the baby by the umbilical cord. This 22 inch cord contains a vein and two arteries.
During the pregnancy, the placenta grows. The blood from the mother travels through the placenta and umbilical cord and through it provides the baby with nutrients. There are certain health complications, such as diabetes or obesity, which can cause the baby to receive a lack of nutrients. As nutrients go in, waste products like urea, uric acid, and creatinine diffuse out.
The placenta also aids in immunity. It transfers antibodies to the fetus so that they are born protected. After the delivery of a baby, the placenta is also delivered, usually about 15 minutes after birth.
The placenta has to separate from the uterus wall in order to be delivered, but it is extremely dangerous when the placenta separates while the baby is still in the womb. Known as placenta abruptio or abruption, there are several different causes which may possibly result in this issue. In many cases, however, the exact cause is extremely difficult to find.
One possible cause is a direct blow to the abdomen area. This could be from a fall, car accident, or any other force affecting the stomach. Smoking, drug use, or heavy drinking during pregnancy has also been shown to increase the risk of the placenta separating. If the mother suffers from diabetes, a blood clotting disorder, is older, or has a history of placenta abruptions, this could also increase the risk of this complication.
How can a mother know that this has happened to her? Symptoms to be aware of include stomach pain or contractions which do not have any relaxation between them, back pain, or vaginal bleeding. Medical treatment should be sought right away if you are at all worried that there is a problem.
Doctors will need to carefully monitor the fetus to see if they are showing any signs that they are in difficulty and the mother will need to be watched for signs of shock. The doctor could seek to determine what is going on my requesting an abdominal ultrasound, a pelvic exam, a vaginal ultrasound, and more.
If the placenta abruption is not diagnosed quickly enough, it can prove to be deadly for both the mother and the baby. The mother could lose too much blood or may be suffering from internal bleeding. When abruption occurs, it causes about half of all fetuses to be in distress. Those who do show signs of distress suffer from complications further down the road approximately 40%-50% of the time.
Knowing the possible severity of these cases shows how important it for medical staff to correctly diagnose and treat this complication. If they prove to be negligent, they are putting the lives of the mother and child at risk. If your child suffered from complications as the result of a placenta abruption, you could have a medical malpractice case.
To have our team at the Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein, PC examine your case, please contact our office or fill out our free case evaluation form.
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