Uterine Rupture In Pregnancy – Is It Life-Threatening For The Baby?
Pregnancy is a phase that demands a lot of courage and determination. After all, you are nurturing a life inside. However, no matter how much determined and cautious you are, but a sudden and rare complication can prove fatal at the time of delivery. One such condition is uterine rupture which can pose risk to both mother and the baby.
Uterine rupture is referred to an uncommon and severe complication that can occur during the vaginal birth. The condition can result in the tear of mother’s uterus which can lead to baby slipping into her abdomen. This can give rise to severe bleeding in the mother as well as suffocate the baby to death.
Uterine rupture is a rare condition that occurs in about 1 percent of pregnancies. In fact, as per an Indian study, in the least developing nations, uterine rupture is one of the major causes of maternal mortality accounting for up to 9.3 percent of deaths.
The condition almost affects the women with uterine scars resulted from early c-section deliveries or other uterine surgical procedures. This occurs in more than 87 percent of cases. The chances of uterine rupture may increase with every c-section delivery. Some experts also say that abnormalities in the uterus or macrosomic baby (large baby) may give rise to this condition.
Causes of uterine rupture
The labor process is no less than a herculean task. During this process, pressure builds on the uterus as the baby moves through the mother’s birth canal. This can cause mother’s uterus to tear. This tear often occurs at the site of the scar from previous cesarean delivery.
What are the signs of uterine rupture?
The symptoms of uterine rupture might be quite subtle initially, but as the labor progresses a woman might feel abdominal pain and severe vaginal bleeding. Other possible signs of the uterine rupture include:
- Sudden pain during contractions
- Sudden decrease in contractions
- Loss of uterine muscle tone (atony of uterus)
- Rapid heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Abnormal heart rate in the baby
- Sudden pain at the site of previous uterine scar
- Failure of labor progress
Complications of uterine rupture
If uterine rupture happens, it can prove fatal, especially to the baby.
- In the mother, it can cause severe blood loss or haemorrhage. This may require an immediate blood transfusion. However, if uterine rupture happens in a hospital, fatal bleeding would rarely occur.
- In the baby, uterine rupture is a much greater cause of worry. The doctor will have to act quickly to pull or separate the baby from the mother. If delivery doesn’t occur within 10-40 minutes, the baby can die due to lack of oxygen.
How is uterine rupture diagnosed?
Uterine rupture is difficult to diagnose as this complication occurs suddenly. And also, most of the times symptoms are nonspecific. Doctors will be looking for signs of baby’s distress in case they suspect uterine rupture. An official diagnosis can only be made during surgery.
How is uterine rupture managed?
Uterine rupture is unlikely to be a life-threatening condition for a mother. However, emergency cesarean delivery and blood transfusion would have to be performed in this case. Moreover, if the tear in the uterus is large, the women will need a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) in order to control her bleeding.
After a hysterectomy, the woman can no longer become pregnant. As far as the baby is concerned, the doctor will work on administering critical care to improve the chances of survival. This includes providing oxygen to the baby immediately after delivery. However, about 6 percent of babies don’t survive due to uterine rupture in their mother. And about 1 percent mothers die due to complications.
In short, the more quickly and swiftly uterine rupture is diagnosed and treated, the more are the chances of survival. There is no way to prevent uterine rupture. The only way to save the life of the mother and the baby is cesarean delivery.
However, having a uterine rupture in earlier pregnancy should not stop you from choosing vaginal birth next time you get pregnant. So talk to your gynecologist and discuss your medical history for the best possible outcome.