Pregnancy : a fetus saves his mother from a rare complication

Health 4 July, 2017


Published the 04.07.2017 at 15h52


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Even before being born, this baby has saved the life of his mother. And hers at the same time. Physicians obstetricians of the CHRU of Lille (North) has witnessed a phenomenon very rare, they describe it in the European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. A woman of 31 years old has been rescued from a uterine rupture by her fetus. The latter has closed the gap with his back, avoiding serious complications.

When she presented herself to the emergency room, the patient who is the subject of this case study did not show any alarming sign. Admitted for abdominal pain are sudden and strong, the woman had not started the work, did not suffer from contractions.

But in the face of his resistance to the painkillers, the doctors suspect a serious disorder : a dissection of the aorta, which may result in internal bleeding. A ct angiography was then performed in the emergency department. This examination allows to visualize the blood vessels, hardly observable with other types of imaging.

The suction effect

The mother was not suffering from an aortic dissection, but of a complication that much more unlikely related to the pregnancy. Her uterus, weakened by a caesarean section previous, ruptured over a length of 10 centimeters. This affects less than 1 % of women with a scarred uterus.

In normal times, the symptoms of a uterine rupture are clear : abdominal pain, fall in blood pressure, contractions weaker and abnormalities of the fetal heart rate. All signs were absent that day. And for good reason.

The fetus is returned and stuck his back against the rupture area. A suction effect is then close to the walls of the uterine muscle, with several positive implications. Remained in the organ of gestation, the bag of waters has not broken. The umbilical cord has not been of prolapse and the arteries of the muscle remained intact.