Which clinical history findings are characteristic of abruptio placentae?

Updated: Nov 30, 2018
  • Author: Shad H Deering, MD; Chief Editor: Carl V Smith, MD  more...
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Symptoms may include vaginal bleeding, contractions, abdominal tenderness, and decreased fetal movement. Eliciting any history of trauma, such as assault, abuse, or motor vehicle accident, is important.

A quick review of the patient's prenatal course, such as a known history of placenta previa, may help lead to the correct diagnosis. [16] The patient should also be asked if she has had a placental abruption in a previous pregnancy.

Questioning the patient about cocaine abuse, hypertension, trauma, or tobacco abuse is also crucial.

Frequency of symptoms in placental abruption is as follows:

  • Vaginal bleeding - 80%

  • Abdominal or back pain and uterine tenderness - 70%

  • Fetal distress - 60%

  • Abnormal uterine contractions (eg, hypertonic, high frequency) - 35%

  • Idiopathic premature labor - 25%

  • Fetal death - 15%

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