Postpartum hemorrhage is excessive blood loss in a woman after childbirth. It is called primary when it is within the first 24 hours after childbirth. Secondary (or delayed) postpartum hemorrhage occurs between 24 hours to six weeks after childbirth.
Some blood loss is normal. However, postpartum hemorrhage is a potentially serious condition that often goes unrecognized. Any excessive blood loss can put a woman at considerable risk. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns about blood loss after giving birth.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:
Fluids, Oxygen, and/or Resuscitation
You may need:
- IV fluids
- Oxygen through a mask
In severe cases:
Bimanual Uterine Massage
A massage technique called bimanual uterine massage can control bleeding. A doctor or nurse will place one hand in your vagina to push on your uterus, while the other hand pushes down on your abdomen. This action will cause a relaxed uterus to contract, thus slowing bleeding.
Bleeding can be caused by a tear in your genital tract or other trauma. The tear will be sutured. In addition, tissue from a retained placenta may need to be removed.
Your doctor may prescribe medicines to contract the uterus. Examples include:
- Ergometrine (Ergonovine)
In some cases, surgery may be needed, such as:
- Uterine packing (sterile materials or a special tamponade device is placed inside the uterine cavity to compress the bleeding area)
- Repair of arteries
- Uterine curettage (scraping the lining of the uterus)
- Repair of hematoma
- Removal of retained placenta
- Uterine artery embolization (non-invasive procedure to block the uterine artery)