Postpartum Hemorrhage - Everything You Need To Know

postpartum hemorrhage  everything you need to know

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So you’re getting ready for the D-day! Childbirth can be stressful and at times scary too, and it is best to have as much knowledge as you can about its different aspects.

If you have any questions at all about postpartum hemorrhage, here is the short answer – it is a complication that occurs following childbirth.

To help you more we’ve explained about this condition in this post.

What Is Postpartum Hemorrhage?

Postpartum hemorrhage is a term used to define hemorrhage or loss of blood following childbirth. It is estimated that around 5% women who give birth are affected by this condition, and there are several risk factors involved that may determine the probability of a woman suffering from the hemorrhage.

  • Typically, a spontaneous vaginal birth accounts for around 500 ml of blood loss.
  • If the blood loss crosses 500 ml, the condition may be termed as postpartum hemorrhage.
  • This usually occurs in the first 24 hours following childbirth, and is one of the most common causes of maternal death and morbidity.

What Causes Postpartum Hemorrhage?

There are certain factors that put you at an increased risk of being affected by a postpartum hemorrhage-

  • Multiple pregnancies.
  • Loss of tone of the uterus.
  • Trauma during childbirth (tears in the tissues).
  • Thrombin (failure of clotting of blood).
  • Tissue retention from the placenta or fetus.
  • Prolonged labor.
  • Use of general anesthesia.
  • Having a large baby.
  • Labor being augmented with hormone pitocin.
  • Episiotomy (a type of assisted delivery).
  • Rupturing of the uterus.
  • Inverted uterus (rare).
  • Severe preeclampsia.
  • Placental abruption.

[ Read: Postpartum Psychosis ]

How Can It Be Managed?

Depending on the reason behind the hemorrhage, several steps may be taken for postpartum hemorrhage management, some of which include:

  • A uterine massage.
  • Use of certain medications (hemabate, methergine, pitocin, etc.).
  • Surgery which includes ligation of the hypogastric ateries and the uterine arteries.
  • Surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy).
  • Oxygen supplementation.
  • Ensuring that the bladder is empty.
  • Trendelenberg position (feet above heart).

A Simple Measure:

Most hospitals and birth centers prefer giving the new mom a routine injection of pitocin, which helps prevent hemorrhages. However, a simple trick to help prevent hemorrhages following childbirth in the natural way is to have the mother breastfeed the baby immediately after birth. This causes natural secretion of the hormone oxytocin, which thereby helps expulsion of the placenta naturally, and prevents postpartum hemorrhage.

In severe cases where none of these approaches work, a blood transfusion may be needed, followed by hysterectomy to remove the uterus.

[ Read: Six-Week Postpartum Checkup ]

Recovery Following A Postpartum Hemorrhage:

Usually, you will be receiving IV fluids and certain medications to help your uterus stay contracted, and you will be under careful observation for any ore bleeding.

  • At this stage, you may feel lightheaded and weak, and it is advisable that you take complete bed rest.
  • The recovery period depends on how much blood you have lost, and your history of anaemia.
  • You will need to consume nutritious foods and the doctor may also prescribe you folic acid, vitamin and iron supplements.
  • You will also be monitored to check how your body is coping with the blood loss.
  • High pulse or abnormally low blood pressure may help your caregiver understand your condition better.

[ Read: Postpartum Bleeding ]

Preventive Measures:

Studies have found that management of the third stage of labor can drastically reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage. Early cutting and clamping of the cord, gentle traction of the cord and uterotonic administration right after the baby’s delivery can help improve maternal health and also help in preventing postpartum hemorrhage.

Following the caregiver’s instructions is extremely crucial if you are affected by post partum hemorrhage. You will need to take complete bed rest and allow your body to heal up quickly.

Do share your birth experience in the comments section below!

References : 1 , 2

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