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Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Feb;89(2):221-6.

Etiologic determinants of abruptio placentae.

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Department of Epidemiology, McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



To quantify the roles of suspected sociodemographic, anthropometric, behavioral, and pathologic determinants in the etiology of abruptio placentae.


We performed a hospital-based cohort study of 36,875 nonreferred births between January 1978 and March 1989. Gestational age was based on menstrual dates confirmed (within 7 days) by early ultrasound.


Parity, maternal education, pre-pregnancy weight, and the rate of net gestational weight gain did not have significant independent associations with abruption. Significant determinants included the following: severe small for gestational-age (SGA) birth (odds ratio [OR] 3.99; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.75, 5.77), chorioamnionitis (OR 2.50; 95% CI 1.58, 3.98), prolonged rupture of membranes (OR 2.38; 95% CI 1.55, 3.65), preeclampsia (OR 2.05; 95% CI 1.39, 3.04), pregnancy-induced hypertension without albuminuria (OR 1.57; 95% CI 1.00, 2.46), pre-pregnancy hypertension (OR 1.77; 95% CI 1.05, 2.99), maternal age at least 35 years (OR 1.50; 95% CI 1.14, 2.01), unmarried status (OR 1.50; 95% CI 1.13, 1.98), cigarette smoking (OR 1.40; 95% CI 1.00, 1.97 for ten to 19 cigarettes per day and OR 1.13; 95% CI 0.81, 1.59 for at least 20 cigarettes per day), and male fetal gender (OR 1.38; 95% CI 1.12, 1.70). Removal of SGA from the regression model resulted in little change in the magnitude of the other associations.


Severe fetal growth restriction, prolonged rupture of membranes, chorioamnionitis, hypertension (before pregnancy and pregnancy-induced), cigarette smoking, advanced maternal age, unmarried status, and male fetal gender are significant etiologic determinants of placental abruption. Non-SGA determinants appear to operate largely independently of their effects on fetal growth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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