Bleeding during mid to late pregnancy or childbirth can be caused by placental abruption. This happens when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus prior to the delivery of the baby. Placental abruption can happen in about 1 in every 150 pregnancies. Some cases are more serious than others. The most common causes are:
* High blood pressure,
* Previous cesarean section, or
* Use of tobacco or illegal drugs, such as cocaine, during pregnancy.
The most common symptoms include constant and severe uterine pain, and vaginal bleeding.
In some cases, the bleeding stops on its own. However, if the abruption is serious, and the placenta continues to pull away from the wall of the uterus, this can cause the placenta and uterus to bleed. The mother and baby may both lose a serious amount of blood.
For this situation, a cesarean section may be considered safer and is usually recommended.