Untimely detachment of a normally sited placenta from the uterus before birth of the baby is termed placental abruption or abruptio placenta. This premature placental separation results in decreased supply of nutrients and oxygen to the fetus as well as bleeding at the site of placental separation. Consequently, the fetus may become distressed or if the abruption is severe, fetal death ensues. The mother may develop life threatening shock (decreased oxygen content at the tissue level) because of the bleeding.
The amniotic fluid – bag of waters – can become stained with blood coming from the detached placenta resulting in the amniotic fluid looking like Port-wine – Port-wine amniotic fluid.
Risk factors for placental abruption include using cocaine, alcohol, cigarettes, having hypertension as well as sustaining abdominal trauma during pregnancy.
Norwitz ER, Schorge JO, 2010, Obstetrics and Gynecology at a Glance. 3rd edition. Wiley-Blackwell. page 119. Go to reference