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Uterine ruptures and what to look for

A uterine rupture can be a life-threatening and catastrophic complication of a pregnancy. It's very rare, but it has a high rate of maternal and fetal morbidity. There are some factors that can lead to a higher risk of this complication, but even when a person is at a higher risk, the likelihood of the complication arising is around .07 percent.

When you go to the doctor with symptoms of this condition, he or she should be able to identify it and make sure you receive the treatment you need immediately. If your doctor doesn't identify the problem soon enough, it's possible that you could lose your child or that you could be put in life-threatening danger.

Some of the symptoms of a uterine rupture include significant uterine bleeding, expulsion of the fetus or placenta into the abdominal cavity, the need for an emergency Cesarean section and fetal distress. Whenever heavy bleeding and fetal distress is identified, a uterine rupture could be the cause and should be considered as a possible diagnosis. Your medical provider should always see heavy bleeding as an emergency and should not fail to test you for this condition.

A uterine rupture can be caused by a few things, like violence, direct trauma, previous C-section operations, labor induction and uterine anomalies. If you've been attacked, for instance, and now have bleeding, then your obstetrician should consider the possibility that your uterus may have ruptured due to trauma. If you had several C-sections in the past, the doctor should consider the potential that the scar tissue has ripped and opened, causing a rupture.

Source: Medscape, "Uterine Rupture in Pregnancy," Gerard G Nahum, MD, and Christine Isaac, MD, accessed June 08, 2016

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