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What is Subchorionic Hematoma in pregnancy?

 
How does this bleeding-during-pregnancy condition affect you and your baby?
By Catherine Goldfain

Pic: Shutterstock

Article originally in Parent24
At long last I’d made it to twelve weeks. And after blurting out the good news about baby number two, a miscarriage was the furthest thing from my mind.

I'd just put my toddler into his high seat, when I felt an intense pain behind my belly button. I'd experienced it fleetingly in my first pregnancy - but this time it was more persistent.

My husband arrived home to find me lying on the couch. “Putting your feet up hey?” he joked.

“It's not funny,” I snapped. The pain was worsening. As I stood up to go to the bathroom, I felt something pop like a cork inside of me and the blood just starting pouring down my legs.

I spent the trip to the hospital in shocked silence, my mind swimming with images of what the dead fetus would look like. I almost looked away when the OB switched on the sonar, not wanting to see my baby's limp form just lying there.

“There it is,” said the doc, “with a strong heartbeat. Your baby's doing just fine!”

“But how can it be fine when I'm losing so much blood? And all these cramps! It just doesn't make sense!” And it was then that the phrase subchorionic hematoma entered my vocabulary.

“Well basically,” said the doc, “you've got a pool of blood in between the wall of your uterus and the chorion- or the outer membrane of the amniotic sac.”

“But how did that happen?” I was dumbfounded.

“We don't really know- but it can be that the placenta and the uterine wall share a vessel. Then as the placenta grows, it ruptures.”

“But will the baby be ok?” I stammered.

“It's  fifty-fifty. These things often clear up: the blood clots and you bleed it out. But there's no guarantee. Worst case scenario is the pool of blood becomes too big- and then the placenta will detach itself from the uterine wall. Of course your baby won't be able to survive that.”

My heart was in my throat.  It dawned on me that the rest of my pregnancy was going to be a long and torturous one. I was given progesterone to calm my uterus and told to take it easy. Other than that, there was nothing they could do.

For the next four months I bled and cramped. There are no words to describe the agony of knowing you could lose your baby at any moment. It was sheer hell. SC H's are not for sissies. Apart from the risk of placenta abruptio, they can increase your chance of having a prem baby. If it weren't for the encouragement from an online support group, the fear would have driven me insane.

I was one of the lucky ones though. At 38 weeks, my beautiful daughter made her way into the world, having survived the giant clot threatening her life. Others I know were not so lucky. One thing's for sure, it's made me appreciate that each pregnancy is different- and  each baby born is a precious gift.

  • What is a subchorionic hematoma?
          A blood clot found between the pregnancy membranes and the wall of the uterus . It occurs in just over 1% of pregnancies.

  • Why does it happen?
          Doctors don't know for sure why it occurs but it's caused when the pregnancy membranes start to separate from the uterus.

  • How is it treated?
          There is no cure but progesterone is sometime prescribed to avoid uterine cramping.

          Bed rest is encouraged.

          Abstinence (orgasms can cause your uterus to contract).


Did you ever deal with the terror of bleeding during pregnancy?

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