Postpartum Hemorrhage – Meaning, Causes, Signs, Diagnosis and Treatments


Postpartum Hemorrhage – Meaning, Causes, Signs, Diagnosis and Treatments

Postpartum hemorrhage is a serious condition that can lead to death. It can also called  PPH. It occurs after delivery or 12 weeks after delivery. You can fully recover if detected earlier; when it comes late, it can be referred to as secondary postpartum hemorrhage. In this article, we will explain and help if you are sure. Get more details here.

What is Postpartum hemorrhage?

Postpartum Hemorrhage - Meaning, Causes, Signs, Diagnosis and Treatments
Postpartum Hemorrhage – Meaning, Causes, Signs, Diagnosis and Treatments

Postpartum hemorrhage is severe vaginal bleeding within 24 hours or 12 weeks of childbirth. It is a dangerous condition and can lead to death if not noticed early. it is important to know that it is called secondary postpartum when it comes late.

Postpartum hemorrhage is when the total blood loss is greater than 32 fluid ounces after delivery, regardless of whether it’s a vaginal delivery or a Cesarean section, or C-section, or when bleeding is severe enough to cause symptoms of too much blood loss or a significant change in heart rate or blood pressure.

Causes of Postpartum Hemorrhage

Here are the causes of postpartum hemorrhage

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1. Uterine trauma

Injudicious utilization of various delivery tools, such as forceps or vacuum extraction, can harm the vaginal, cervical, and uterine regions. Occasionally, this can lead to a hematoma, a pooling of blood in a hidden area, potentially causing bleeding hours or even days following childbirth.

2. Retained placental tissue

This occurs when the complete placenta fails to detach from the uterine wall. Typically, this results from placental conditions that hinder the uterus’s ability to contract following childbirth.

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3. Blood clotting condition (thrombin)

A coagulation disorder or a pregnancy-related condition such as eclampsia can disrupt your body’s ability to form blood clots. This can render even a minor bleeding episode unmanageable.

Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Hemorrhage

It is crucial to communicate your post-delivery feelings because it often begins with how you perceive your well-being. Additionally, you are typically advised to spend around three days for health examinations. In cases where symptoms arise after you have returned home, it is essential to contact your healthcare provider promptly. Here are the signs that you may experience following childbirth:

  1. Indications of a drop in blood pressure include dizziness, blurred vision, or feeling lightheaded.
  2. An elevated heart rate.
  3. A reduction in red blood cell count.
  4. Skin appearing pale or feeling clammy.
  5. Nausea or vomiting.
  6. Escalating abdominal or pelvic discomfort.

Diagnosis and Tests

Here are the techniques used for diagnosing PPH:

  1. monitoring of your pulse rate and blood pressure to identify any issues.
  2. Blood examinations to assess red blood cell levels (hematocrit) and clotting factors.
  3. Using ultrasound to obtain a comprehensive image of your uterus and other internal organs.

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Management and Treatment

The treatment for PPH can vary in complexity and may involve less invasive or more challenging procedures. PPH can be addressed through methods such as laparotomy or hysterectomy, but there are also alternative approaches available, including:

  1. Uterine massage to facilitate uterine muscle contractions.
  2. Medications to induce contractions.
  3. Removal of any retained placental tissue from the uterus.
  4. Repairing tears or lacerations in the vaginal, cervical, or uterine areas.
  5. Packing the uterus with sterile gauze or ligating blood vessels.
  6. Using a catheter or balloon to apply pressure to the uterine walls.
  7. Uterine artery embolization.
  8. Blood transfusion.

Risk Factors

The following are the possible risks factor of PPH

  1. C-section
  2. Receiving general anesthesia.
  3. Use of tocolytics to halt labour.
  4. Extended labour duration.
  5. Infection during labour.
  6. Tears (perineal lacerations) during vaginal delivery.
  7. A history of PPH in previous deliveries.

Most of the health conditions can increase the risk of PPH which are:

  1. High blood pressure or preeclampsia.
  2. Infections.
  3. Blood clotting disorders or other blood-related ailments.
  4. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP).
  5. Anemia.
  6. Obesity.
  7. Advanced maternal age.
  8. A history of five or more previous deliveries.


It’s crucial to understand that early detection is essential to prevent the potentially fatal consequences of PPH. To safeguard against this, it’s vital not to withhold any medical information from your healthcare provider. They can assess your risk factors and provide guidance. Maintaining sufficient iron intake and healthy red blood cell levels during pregnancy can help mitigate the impact of postpartum hemorrhage, should it occur.

Jael Okwuchukwu
Jael Okwuchukwu
I am Okwuchukwu Jael, a writer, educator, and musician from Enugu State. Teaching, both academic and musical, is a passion of mine, and I specialize as a Western pianist. Currently, I am employed as a blogger at Writer's King LTD, combining my love for writing and desire to share knowledge with a broader audience.

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