Prevention and management of postpartum haemorrhage

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Are you having severe bleeding after the delivery of your baby? About 4 percent of women suffer postpartum haemorrhage after delivery, and the chances of it increase with a cesarean birth. Find out what it is and what the symptoms, risk factors, and treatments are.

postpartum haemorrhage

Read more on the prevention and management of postpartum haemorrhage

Postpartum haemorrhage is severe bleeding (more than 500 ml of blood loss) after the delivery of the baby. About four percent of women have postpartum haemorrhage, and the chances of having it increase with a cesarean birth. Usually, postpartum haemorrhage occurs right after delivery, but it can occur later as well.

What is postpartum haemorrhage?
The uterus usually tightens once the baby is delivered and this will detach the placenta. The contraction will aid in compressing the bleeding vessels where the placenta was attached. If the uterus is unable to contract strongly, the blood vessels will bleed freely causing a haemorrhage to occur.

RELATED: Doctors tell all about labour and delivery complications

What increases the risk of postpartum haemorrhage occuring?
There are many factors that increase the risk of postpartum haemorrhage. Here are a few of the most prominent ones:

  • Delivery of a big baby
  • Multiple pregnancies with prolonged labour
  • Infection
  • Obesity
  • Medications that induce labour
  • The use of forceps
  • Tear in the birth canal/ vaginal tissues/ uterine blood vessel
  • An increased tendency to bleed easily due to a blood clot disorder
postpartum haemorrhage

Find out the symptoms for postpartum haemorrhage

Symptoms
The main symptoms of postpartum haemorrhage  are:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Severe bleeding
  • Blood pressure falling
  • Swelling and pain in tissues around the vaginal area

The symptoms of postpartum haemorrhage may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

Preventions
Sometimes just by being more cautious and researching, you can really help in preventing a serious condition. Here are two ways to prevent postpartum haemorrhage

  • Prior to delivery, if you’re anemic seek help for it.
  • Episiotomies, only if necessary

What will the doctor do?
Ultimately every illness comes down to treatment. Here are some things that doctors will do in the case that you have postpartum haemorrhage:

  • Examine the uterus and pelvic tissues
  • Prescribe medications such as prostaglandins, oxytocin or ergometrine
  • Remove any remaining placenta pieces from the uterus
  • Perform surgery that will enable to find the cause of bleeding. This surgery is known as laparotomy.
  • Surgically remove the uterus. This is known as hysterectomy and is usually a doctor’s last resort when trying to resolve this condition.

RELATED: My unexpected delivery!

Serious dangers
Severe blood loss can cause the new mother’s blood pressure to fall considerably and this may even lead to shock and or death. However, early detection can lead to a successful recovery.

Have you ever dealt with postpartum haemorrhage? Tell us if you have any tips on how to deal with it. We’d love to hear from you!

For more on postpartum haemorrhage, watch this video:

Confinement