Various factors can increase the risk of placental abruption, including:

  • Previous placental abruption. If you've experienced placental abruption before, you're at higher risk of experiencing it again.
  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure — whether chronic or as a result of pregnancy — increases the risk of placental abruption.
  • Abdominal trauma. Trauma to your abdomen — such as from a fall or other type of blow to the abdomen — makes placental abruption more likely.
  • Substance abuse. Placental abruption is more common in women who smoke or use cocaine during pregnancy.
  • Premature rupture of the membranes. During pregnancy, the baby is surrounded and cushioned by a fluid-filled membrane called the amniotic sac. The risk of placental abruption increases if the sac leaks or breaks before labor begins.
  • Blood-clotting disorders. Any condition that impairs your blood's ability to clot increases the risk of placental abruption.
  • Multiple pregnancy. If you're carrying more than one baby, the delivery of the first baby can cause changes in the uterus that trigger placental abruption before the other baby or babies are delivered.
  • Maternal age. Placental abruption is more common in older women, especially after age 40.
Jan. 10, 2012