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Definition of Couvelaire uterus

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The Couvelaire uterus is a rare obstetric complication that occurs due to a placental abruption. Although it is unusual since specialists usually detect placental abruption quickly and take appropriate actions, if this condition manifests, the fetus’s life would be at risk, requiring rapid intervention to guarantee its health.

In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain in detail the definition of Couvelaire’s uterus, the causes that can produce a placental abruption, and the risks.

Couvelaire uterus concept

Premature placental abruption can lead to retroplacental bleeding or the formation of a hematoma in the area. Once this condition occurs, bleeding can react in several ways, invading the uterus’s muscle fibers, a condition known as Couvelaire’s uterus. When this condition occurs, the uterus acquires a bluish color and loses the ability to contract.

Depending on the area that has detached, both the bleeding and the clinical picture can vary in severity; therefore, the prognosis of this condition will be different in the case of each woman and according to the stage of pregnancy in which she also depends on the treatment that is applied and of the moment in which the condition is detected.

Why do placental detachments occur?

Couvelaire’s uterus is one of the most severe complications of premature placental abruption, which can occur in most cases for unknown causes. However, some conditions can increase a woman’s risk of having early placental displacement, for example :

  • History of placental abruption in previous deliveries.
  • Being over 40 years old at the time of pregnancy.
  • Suffering from hypertension.
  • Having diabetes or any heart disease.
  • Having suffered significant trauma in the area, for example, an accident, fall, etc.
  • Having inadequate nutrition during pregnancy.
  • Having consumed toxic substances such as alcohol, tobacco, or cocaine during pregnancy.

Premature placental abruption causes bleeding depending on how strong the detachment is. This bleeding can behave in different ways, yielding various complications:

  • Cause invisible bleeding that is limited only to the margins of the placenta.
  • Produce the detachment of membranes that come out through the vagina, which produces a visible hemorrhage.
  • Let the bleeding reach the amniotic cavity.
  • That it infiltrates the muscle fibers of the uterus, which would give rise to Couvelaire’s uterus.

Symptoms of a placental abruption

Placenta detachments are usually partial. However, they can also be total, a more common condition in the third trimester. This condition does not go unnoticed by the mother, presenting specific symptoms:

  • The vaginal bleeding and pain or contractions are the clearest sign of abruption, though its intensity may vary.
  • In cases of a small detachment, the mother will perceive slight bleeding and discomfort in the abdomen.
  • Before a more significant separation, the bleeding will be more abundant, and the mother will perceive more colic and pain in the abdomen area.
  • When half or more of the placenta is detached, the symptoms will be very alarming: bleeding, intense contractions, and even movement of the fetus.

In any of these cases, it is essential to go urgently to the doctor, who will check the status of the placenta and the fetus and give the appropriate indications according to the diagnosis.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Couvelaire’s definition of the uterus , we recommend that you enter our Medical Dictionary category .

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