Postpartum Hemorrhage

Postpartum Hemorrhage (postpartum bleeding or PPH)

Postpartum Hemorrhage is more commonly caused by poor contraction of the uterus after childbirth.

What are some conditions that cause Postpartum Hemorrhage?

  • Placental abruption
  • Placenta  Previa
  • Over distended uterus
  • Multiple pregnancy
  • Gestational hypertension or preeclampsia
  • Many previous births
  • Prolonged labor
  • Infection

When should a physician be seen during Postpartum Hemorrhage?

Vaginal bleeding is normal after childbirth.  It is also normal for the blood to be bright red with some clotting.  The bleeding should get less as the days progress.

Postpartum Hemorrhage affects 5% of women usually 24 hours after delivery.  However, it can happen as late as 12 weeks after delivery.

Postpartum Hemorrhage (the loss of 500ml to 1000ml in a 24 hour period) is a serious condition and it can cause a drop in the blood pressure causing the organs to not get enough blood.  The patient will go into shock which can cause death.

Postpartum Hemorrhage requires immediate medical attention!

What methods are used to stop Postpartum Hemorrhage?

  • Medication
  • Balloon in uterus to create pressure
  • D&C
  • Manual massage
  • Surgery

The method of treatment depends on what is causing the Postpartum Hemorrhage.

Can Postpartum Hemorrhage be prevented?

Medicines can be used in the third stage of labor for women who are prone to have Postpartum Hemorrhage.    

Good prenatal nutrition with supplements is important in all pregnancies.

Blood work showing the amount of hemoglobin, hematocrit, and platelet count is important for determining if Postpartum Hemorrhage could be possible.

The delivery of the placenta should not be rushed.

Can the mother still breastfeed after having Postpartum Hemorrhage?

Yes the mother can still breast feed after a Postpartum Hemorrhage.  The pump an dump method would need to be performed if the mother has taken any medicine or had anesthesia before breast feeding.

Are women who have Postpartum Hemorrhage after their first pregnancy at risk with future pregnancies?

Women who bleed heavily after giving birth are not at any higher risk of complications during the next pregnancy.   Postpartum Hemorrhage is only a part of that particular pregnancy and is not something a woman is prone to for all pregnancies.

10% of women could have Postpartum Hemorrhage after their first pregnancy, where older women and smokers have a higher risk of this happening.  

Eating healthy and keeping weight down are factors that will reduce the risk of Postpartum Hemorrhage.

Contact your neighborhood Texas Health Care Obstetrics & Gynecology clinic in DFW for more information on Postpartum Hemorrhage and treatment options.