Postpartum hemorrhage is excessive bleeding following the birth of a baby. About 4 percent of women have postpartum hemorrhage and it is more likely with a cesarean birth. Hemorrhage may occur before or after the placenta is delivered. The average amount of blood loss after the birth of a single baby in vaginal delivery is about 500 ml (or about a half of a quart). The average amount of blood loss for a cesarean birth is approximately 1,000 ml (or one quart). Most postpartum hemorrhage occurs right after delivery, but it can occur later as well.
Once a baby is delivered, the uterus normally continues to contract (tightening of uterine muscles) and expels the placenta. After the placenta is delivered, these contractions help compress the bleeding vessels in the area where the placenta was attached. If the uterus does not contract strongly enough, called uterine atony, these blood vessels bleed freely and hemorrhage occurs. This is the most common cause of postpartum hemorrhage. If small pieces of the placenta remain attached, bleeding is also likely. It is estimated that as much as 600 ml (more than a quart) of blood flows through the placenta each minute in a full-term pregnancy.
Some women are at greater risk for postpartum hemorrhage than others. Risk factors for postpartum hemorrhage include the following:
Postpartum hemorrhage may also be due to other factors including the following:
Although an uncommon event (one in 2,000 deliveries), uterine rupture can be life threatening for the mother. Conditions that may increase the risk of uterine rupture include surgery to remove fibroid (benign) tumors and a prior cesarean scar in the upper part (fundus) of the uterus. It can also occur before delivery and place the fetus at risk as well.
Excessive and rapid blood loss can cause a severe drop in the mother's blood pressure and may lead to shock and death if not treated.
The following are the most common symptoms of postpartum hemorrhage. However, each woman may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of postpartum hemorrhage may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult physician for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnosis is usually based on symptoms, with laboratory tests often helping with the diagnosis. Tests used to diagnose postpartum hemorrhage may include:
Useful for bruising and can aid in healing the perineum and other tissues after birth. It can also be used for afterpains and uterine cramping that can occur with nursing.
Useful in the postpartum to treat abdominal symptoms. Helpful for bruising and injury related to birth, as well as after pains. Also support healing after a tear. Also helpful for women who have had a C-section.
Best medicine for assisting women experiencing hormonal changes, making it great for the postpartum period. Especially helpful in women experiencing the baby blues or even postpartum depression—those who may feel irritably, apathetic, resentful, or burdened. Recommended when women feel indifferent to the birth experience and have trouble bonding with the baby.Helpful with pelvic weakness or uterine prolapse.
Helpful for issues arising with breastfeeding, including engorgement, painful nipples, and plugged ducts.
Helpful when a woman is experiencing feelings of disappointment about the birth experience or overall outcome. It can helpful when one feels irritation at other’s attempts to console them even though they are sad. Women needing this remedy may also get headaches or heart palpitations when depressed.
Mostly suited to women who are feeling emotionally sensitive and prone to tears in the postpartum. Given to women who may feel needy and insecure, wanting constant affection, reassurance, and nurturing.Recommended when Getting fresh air and avoiding warm stuffy rooms can help.