abruptio placentae (comparison with placenta praevia)

Last reviewed 04/2021

These comparisons are generalisations for each condition. Obviously specific cases may vary in terms of the clinical features that occur.

  • pain
    • abruption - constant
    • placenta praevia - painless
  • obstetric shock
    • abruption - the actual amount of bleeding may be far in excess of vaginal loss
    • placenta praevia - obsetric shock in proportion to amount of vaginal loss
  • uterus
    • abruption - uterus is tender and tense
    • placenta praevia - uterus is non-tender
  • fetus
    • abruption - normal presentation and lie
    • placenta praevia - may have abnormal presentation and/ or lie
  • fetal heart
    • abruption - fetal heart distressed/absent
    • placenta praevia - in general, fetal heart normal
  • associated problems:
    • abruption - may be a complication of pre-eclampsia, may cause disseminated intravascular coagulation
    • placenta praevia - small antepartum haemorrhage may occur before larger bleed