Placenta praevia, placental abruption and amphetamine use in pregnancy: A case study

Document Type

Journal Article




Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Nursing and Midwifery




McLaurin, R., & Geraghty, S. (2013). Placenta praevia, placental abruption and amphetamine use in pregnancy: A case study. Women and Birth, 26(2), 138-142. Available here


Pregnant women who misuse alcohol or substances often develop obstetric conditions that further complicate their pregnancy. This case study reflects on the maternity care provided for a woman who continued to use amphetamines during her pregnancy; and who was diagnosed with placenta praevia and subsequently suffered a placental abruption. Alcohol and substance misuse in pregnancy is currently escalating, increasing the risk in maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Midwives must be confident in the advice and care they provide in order to reduce the risks caused by substance misuse, and be able to support this with evidence-based care. Purpose: The purpose of this case study is to discuss the obstetric condition involved with placenta praevia with the occurrence of a placental abruption in a woman who uses amphetamines during pregnancy; and the midwifery and obstetric care involved. Interest/relevance/congruency: It will highlight the importance of evidence-based care in high risk obstetrics. Content: (1) Case summary; (2) discussion; (3) risk factors; screening, diagnosis and management; foetal and neonatal monitoring; postnatal management, and trauma informed care. Conclusion: It was shown with planning, understanding, communication, and vigilance, the care of an amphetamine using pregnant woman with a diagnosis of placenta praevia and abruption can be successfully accomplished. The management of the woman discussed in this case study was within the recommendations currently available in the literature.