Placental abruption: epidemiology, risk factors and consequences

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2011 Feb;90(2):140-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0412.2010.01030.x. Epub 2010 Dec 7.


Placental abruption, classically defined as a premature separation of the placenta before delivery, is one of the leading causes of vaginal bleeding in the second half of pregnancy. Approximately 0.4-1% of pregnancies are complicated by placental abruption. The prevalence is lower in the Nordic countries (0.38-0.51%) compared with the USA (0.6-1.0%). Placental abruption is also one of the most important causes of maternal morbidity and perinatal mortality. Maternal risks include obstetric hemorrhage, need for blood transfusions, emergency hysterectomy, disseminated intravascular coagulopathy and renal failure. Maternal death is rare but seven times higher than the overall maternal mortality rate. Perinatal consequences include low birthweight, preterm delivery, asphyxia, stillbirth and perinatal death. In developed countries, approximately 10% of all preterm births and 10-20% of all perinatal deaths are caused by placental abruption. In many countries, the rate of placental abruption has been increasing. Although several risk factors are known, the etiopathogenesis of placental abruption is multifactorial and not well understood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abruptio Placentae / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries / epidemiology