Postpartum hemorrhage is when a woman loses too much blood after giving birth. It is called primary when it happens in the first 24 hours after giving birth. It is called secondary (or delayed) when it happens between 24 hours to 6 weeks after giving birth.
Some blood loss is normal. Too much blood loss can be serious and put you at risk.
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Treatment is based on how much you are bleeding. You may have:
Fluids and Oxygen
You may need IV fluids or an oxygen mask. If you have lost a lot of blood, a blood transfusion may be needed.
A massage technique called bimanual uterine massage can help control bleeding. A doctor or nurse will place one hand in your vagina to push on your womb, while the other hand pushes down on your womb from your belly. This action will cause a relaxed womb to contract and slow the bleeding.
You may be given medicine to make the womb contract.
In some cases, surgery may be needed to stop bleeding. The type of surgery used will depend on the source of your bleeding. For example, if bleeding is caused by trauma, it will be stitched.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Obstetric Hemorrhage)
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
American Pregnancy Association http://www.americanpregnancy.org
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG Practice Bulletin: Clinical Management Guidelines for Obstetrician-Gynecologists Number 76, October 2006: postpartum hemorrhage. Obstet Gynecol. 2006;108(4):1039-1047. Reaffirmed 2015.
Anderson JM, Etches D. Prevention and management of postpartum hemorrhage. Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(6):875-882.
Postpartum hemorrhage. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114247/Postpartum-hemorrhage . Updated January 24, 2018. Accessed August 9, 2018.