Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Placental abruption is often a medical emergency, leaving you no time to prepare. However, it's possible that your health care provider might notice signs of an impending abruption before an emergency situation develops. Depending on the suspected severity of your placental abruption, you might be admitted to the hospital and monitored — or you might be admitted for emergency surgery to deliver the baby.
If you and the baby are being monitored in the hospital, here's some information to help you prepare for what's to come, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
While you're in the hospital:
- Keep track of any symptoms you're experiencing. Describe any changes to a member of your health care team immediately.
- List all medications you've been taking, including vitamins and supplements. Be sure to let your doctor know if you've smoked during your pregnancy or used illegal drugs.
- Ask a loved one or friend to be with you, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided, especially in an emergency situation. Someone who's with you might remember something that you missed or forgot.
It's also helpful to jot down your questions ahead of time, to make sure you cover the points that are important to you when you speak with your doctor. Some basic questions you might want to ask your doctor include:
- What kinds of tests do I need? How do I prepare for these tests?
- Is the baby in any danger? Am I in any danger?
- What are the treatment options?
- Will I be on bed rest?
- What are the possible complications?
- What can I expect if the baby is born now?
- Will I need a blood transfusion?
- What are the chances that I might need a hysterectomy after the delivery?
In addition to your prepared questions, don't hesitate to ask questions anytime you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. For example:
- When did you first begin experiencing signs and symptoms?
- Have you noticed any changes in your signs and symptoms?
- How much bleeding have you noticed?
- Can you feel your baby moving?
- Have you noticed any clear fluid leaking from your vagina?
- Have you had any nausea, vomiting or lightheadedness?
- Are you having contractions? If so, how close together are they?
- Ananth CV, et al. Clinical features and diagnosis of placental abruption. http://www.uptodate.com/index.html. Accessed Oct. 13, 2011.
- Oyelese Y, et al. Management and outcome of pregnancies complicated by placental abruption. http://www.uptodate.com/index.html. Accessed Oct. 13, 2011.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2010:373.
- Obstetrical hemorrhage. In: Cunningham FG, et al. Williams Obstetrics. 23rd ed. New York, N.Y.; The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=46. Accessed Oct. 14, 2011.
- Harms RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 22, 2011.