Obstetrics Book



Postpartum Hemorrhage

Aka: Postpartum Hemorrhage, Post-partum Bleeding
  1. See Also
    1. Active Management of the Third Stage of Labor
    2. Retained Placenta
    3. Uterine Inversion
    4. Uterine Rupture
  2. Definitions
    1. Postpartum Hemorrhage (2014 definition)
      1. Blood loss >1000 ml OR
      2. Signs and symptoms of Hypovolemia
      3. Previously diagnosed as blood loss >500 cc, need for pRBC transfusion or >10% drop in Hematocrit
    2. Primary Postpartum Hemorrhage (Early Postpartum Hemorrhage)
      1. Blood loss within 24 hours
    3. Secondary Postpartum Hemorrhage (Late Postpartum Hemorrhage)
      1. Blood loss after 24 hours and before 6 weeks
      2. Due to placental eschar slouphing, Retained Placenta
  3. Epidemiology
    1. Incidence: 3-5% of all deliveries
    2. Responsible for 25% of worldwide maternal deaths and 14% of U.S. maternal deaths
  4. Risk Factors
    1. No risk factor in 20% of Postpartum Hemorrhage cases
    2. Prolonged labor
      1. Prolonged third stage >18 minutes
      2. Proloned third stage >30 minutes (RR 6)
    3. Maternal conditions
      1. Prior history Postpartum Hemorrhage (RR 2-3)
      2. Grand Multipara
      3. Primipara
      4. Chorioamnionitis
      5. Multiple Gestation
      6. Preeclampsia
      7. Antepartum Hemorrhage
      8. Maternal Anemia
      9. Maternal Obesity
    4. Fetal Conditions
      1. Fetal Macrosomia
    5. Medications and procedures
      1. Magnesium Sulfate infusion
      2. Prolonged Pitocin infusion
      3. Episiotomy
  5. Causes: Mnemonic: 4T's
    1. Tone diminished or uterine atony (70 to 80% of cases)
      1. Pathophysiology: Uterus fails to contract despite being empty (and unable to control bleeding at placental site)
      2. Excessive Uterine distension
        1. Twin Gestation
        2. Fetal Macrosomia
        3. Polyhydramnios
      3. Multiparity
        1. Fibrosis in uterine Muscle
      4. Prolonged labor (uterine inertia)
      5. Prolonged Third Stage of Labor (>18 minutes)
      6. Labor augmented with Oxytocin
      7. Chorioamnionitis
      8. General Anesthesia
      9. Placenta Previa
        1. Lower segment does not contract
      10. Abruptio Placentae
        1. "Couvelaire" Uterus may not contract
    2. Trauma (20% of cases)
      1. Uterine Inversion
      2. Uterine Rupture
      3. Cervical Laceration
      4. Vaginal Hematoma
    3. Tissue (10% of cases)
      1. Retained Placenta
      2. Placenta accreta (or other invasive placenta)
    4. Thrombin (1% of cases)
      1. Coagulopathy
      2. Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation
  6. Signs
    1. Inspect Vagina and Cervix for bleeding source
    2. Uterus is soft and boggy in atony
    3. Quantify blood loss
      1. Under-buttocks drape with calibrated catch
      2. Weigh blood soaked pads, clots
    4. Observe for findings of Hemorrhagic Shock
      1. Sinus Tachycardia (may be earliest sign of Postpartum Hemorrhage)
      2. Orthostasis
      3. Hypotension
    5. Observe for end-organ ischemia
      1. Chest Pain
      2. Dyspnea
      3. Nausea or Vomiting
      4. Oliguria
  7. Labs
    1. Complete Blood Count with Platelets
    2. ProTime (PT)
    3. Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT)
    4. Type and cross for 2-4 units of pRBC
    5. Other Coagulation Disorder labs to consider
      1. Fibrinogen level
      2. Fibrin split products
      3. D-Dimer
  8. Management: Active Management of the Third Stage of Labor
    1. Oxytocin (10 IU IM or 20 IU/L at 250 ml/h) administered on delivery of newborn's anterior Shoulder
      1. Reduces Incidence from 16.5% to 3.8% of deliveries
      2. See Third Stage of Labor
    2. Controlled cord traction
    3. Limit the third stage to <10 minutes
      1. Delayed placental delivery >10 min doubles bleed risk
    4. Early cord clamping and cutting does not appear to reduce Postpartum Hemorrhage risk
      1. Delayed cord clamping is now recommended for 1-3 minutes to reduce newborn Anemia risk
  9. Management: Resuscitation
    1. Indications
      1. Brisk bleeding
      2. Hypotension and Tachycardia
    2. Initial General Management
      1. See ABC Management
      2. Emergent Obstetrician Consultation
      3. Bimanual uterine massage
        1. See description below
        2. Single most important corrective measure
      4. Nursing
        1. Large Bore (14-16 gauge) Intravenous Access (2 sites) and crystalloid bolus (NS, LR)
        2. Supplemental Oxygen
        3. Type and cross for 4 units pRBC
        4. Empty Bladder with Foley Catheter (may improve uterine tone)
        5. Patient in Trendelenburg or with legs elevated
        6. Close hemodynamic monitoring with frequent Vital Signs
      5. Medications
        1. Oxytocin (10 IU IM or 20 IU/L at 250 ml/h), and continue for first 24 hours
        2. Tranexamic Acid (TXA) 1 gram over 10 minutes (and repeat dose in 30 min if bleeding continues)
        3. Methylergonovine (Methergine) 0.2 mg IM now and may be repeated every 2 to 4 hours
        4. Misoprostol: 600 mcg sublingual or 1000 mcg rectally once
    3. Next measures for refractory bleeding
      1. Assess 4 Ts (Tone, Trauma, Tissue, Thrombin) below
      2. Hemabate (carboprost Tromethamine, 15-methyl-Prostaglandin F2 alpha)
        1. See precautions below (expect severe Diarrhea in 20% of patients, bronchoconstriction in Asthma)
        2. Dose: 0.25 mg IM or intromyometrium every 15 minutes to maximum of 2 mg
    4. Massive Hemorrhage Management
      1. Transfuse pRBC, Platelets, Cryoprecipitate, factors as indicated
        1. May require O negative Blood Transfusion
      2. Balloon tamponade (temporizing measure)
        1. Bakri Balloon or BT Cath Balloon (either is preferred)
          1. Bakri Balloon is filled with 500 cc saline
          2. Bakri Balloon is large enough to stabilize bleeding via tamponade within Uterus
        2. Foley Catheter inserted into Cervix and balloon inflated with sterile saline or sterile water
          1. Foley Catheter is unlikely to expand enough to provide meaningfull intrauterine pressure
          2. Consider a Condom on end of the Foley Catheter tip, which could be expanded to 500 cc
        3. Other alternative balloon options
          1. Sengstaken-Blakemore Tube
      3. Compressive Uterine packing (temporizing measure)
        1. Foley Catheter placed first to decompress Bladder
        2. Use gauze in a continuous roll such as Kerlix
          1. Consider gauze soaked in Thrombin, Vasopressin, chitosan or hemabate (carboprost)
        3. Maximize visualization with large speculum and good lighting
        4. Insert continuous gauze in layers with a ring forceps
          1. Start with gauze inserted from fundus to vaginal canal and then layer the gauze back and forth
          2. Attempt to place as many layers as possible
        5. Prevent infection with packing
          1. Remove packing within 12 to 24 hours
          2. Administer broad spectrum IV antibiotics
        6. References
          1. Warrington (2019) Crit Dec Emerg Med 33(6):18
      4. Surgical interventions (definitive management)
        1. Vessel embolization (Intervention Radiology)
        2. Ligation of Uterine and Hypogastric arteries
        3. Hysterectomy
  10. Management: Four T's (see Above)
    1. Tone (Soft, boggy Uterus)
      1. Empty the Bladder!
      2. Bimanual uterine massage
        1. Bimanual massage between vagina and uterine fundus
        2. One hand in clenched fist within vagina pushes against the Uterus
        3. Other hand compresses fundus through the Abdomen
      3. Uterotonic Medications
        1. Oxytocin 20 IU per Liter NS (first-line, single most-effective agent)
          1. Infuse 250 cc/h (Max: 500 cc/10 min)
        2. Methylergonovine (Methergine) 0.2 mg IM q2-4 hours
          1. Contraindicated in Severe Hypertension
        3. Misoprostol (Cytotec, PGE1)
          1. Misoprostol: 600 mcg sublingual or 1000 mcg rectally once or
          2. Misoprostol 400 mcg per Rectum after placenta delivery and 100 mcg at 4 hours and 8 hours
          3. Prophylaxis (bleeding risk): Misoprostol 600 mcg sublingual or orally within 1 minute of delivery
        4. Hemabate (carboprost Tromethamine, 15-methyl-Prostaglandin F2 alpha)
          1. Rarely used in U.S. practice due to severe Diarrhea in up to 20% of patients
          2. Risk of bronchoconstriction in Asthma
          3. Dose: Hemabate 0.25 mg IM every 15 minutes to maximum of 2 mg
        5. Dinoprostone (PGE2)
          1. Caliskan (2002) Am J Obstet Gynecol 187:1038-45
    2. Trauma (Genital Laceration, Uterine Inversion)
      1. Avoid episiotomy unless urgent delivery (Fetal Distress, Shoulder Dystocia)
      2. Inspect Vagina and Cervix for bleeding source
        1. Suture Lacerations if present
        2. Drain large vaginal or vulvar Hematomas (>3 cm), irrigate and obtain Hemostasis
        3. Remove retained clot within Cervix
      3. Evaluate Uterus
        1. Consider exploring Uterus
        2. Evaluate for Uterine Rupture (0.8% of low transverse VBACs or Vaginal Births after cesarean)
          1. Higher risk with Oxytocin Induction and augmentation
          2. Most common presenting sign is Fetal Bradycardia
        3. Evaluate for Uterine Inversion (0.04% of deliveries)
          1. Presents as bluish-gray mass protruding from vagina, and shock without excessive blood loss
          2. Immediately replace Uterine Inversion (without removing placenta if still attached)
          3. Emergent Consultation
          4. Life threatening if not replaced
    3. Tissue (Retained Placenta)
      1. Inspect placenta for missing segments
      2. Manually remove Retained Placenta
      3. Consider placenta accreta (invasive placenta) if tissue plane is not easily distinguished on manual placenta removal
      4. Consider curettage and prepare for possible Dilatation and Curettage or surgery
    4. Thrombin (Clotting disorder)
      1. Signs
        1. Refractory Postpartum Hemorrhage
        2. Blood continues to ooze from venous puncture sites
        3. Blood does not clot in Red Top blood tubes (no additives) within 5-10 minutes
      2. Obtain labs as above
        1. Includes Platelet Count, INR, PTT, Fibrinogen level, Fibrin split products, D-Dimer
      3. Replace Coagulation Factors (and Blood Products as below)
        1. Tranexamic Acid (TXA) 1 gram over 10 minutes (low risk, often given early, regardless of labs)
        2. Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP)
        3. Platelet Transfusion
        4. Factor VIIa
  11. Management: Post-Stabilization
    1. Monitor for ongoing bleeding
      1. Frequent Vital Signs
      2. Symptomatic Anemia (e.g. Fatigue, Shortness of Breath, Chest Pain)
      3. Serial Hemoglobin
  12. Prevention
    1. Consider planning delivery for high risk patients at tertiary centers
      1. Antepartum or chronic Anemia (e.g. Sickle Cell Anemia, Thalassemia)
      2. Coagulopathy history
      3. Invasive placenta risks (e.g. VBAC)
      4. Jehovah's Witness and others refusing Blood Transfusions
    2. Prepare healthcare team and hospital protocols in advance for Postpartum Hemorrhage emergencies
      1. Prepare Postpartum Hemorrhage cart with needed medications, supplies, emergency cards
      2. Nurse and Provider Education (e.g. ALSO)
    3. Active Management of the Third Stage of Labor
    4. Avoid episiotomy
  13. Complications
    1. Acute Blood Loss Anemia
      1. Hemorrhagic Shock requiring Blood Transfusion
      2. Dilutional Coagulopathy (increased bleeding risk)
        1. Replace 1 unit Platelets and 4 units FFP for every 4-6 units of pRBC in Massive Transfusion
      3. Death
    2. Sheehan Syndrome (postpartum pituitary necrosis)
      1. Anterior pituitary ischemia
      2. Results in delayed or failed Lactation
    3. Myocardial Ischemia
  14. References
    1. Lively and Clare (2022) Crit Dec Emerg Med 36(5): 4-10
    2. Alamia (1999) Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 26:385-98 [PubMed]
    3. Anderson (2007) Am Fam Physician 75(6):875-82 [PubMed]
    4. Dresang (2015) Am Fam Physician 92(3): 202-8 [PubMed]
    5. Evensen (2017) Am Fam Physician 95(7): 442-9 [PubMed]
    6. Lalonde (2006) Int J Gynaecol Obstet 94:243-53 [PubMed]
    7. Magann (2005) Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 32:323-32 [PubMed]

Postpartum Hemorrhage (C0032797)

Definition (NCI) Hemorrhage defined as a blood loss in excess of 500 mL after vaginal delivery or more than 1000 mL after a cesarean delivery.
Definition (MSH) Excess blood loss from uterine bleeding associated with OBSTETRIC LABOR or CHILDBIRTH. It is defined as blood loss greater than 500 ml or of the amount that adversely affects the maternal physiology, such as BLOOD PRESSURE and HEMATOCRIT. Postpartum hemorrhage is divided into two categories, immediate (within first 24 hours after birth) or delayed (after 24 hours postpartum).
Concepts Pathologic Function (T046)
MSH D006473
ICD9 666
ICD10 O72
SnomedCT 47821001, 156239004, 156243000, 200033009
English Hemorrhage, Postpartum, Postpartum haemorrhage NOS, Postpartum hemorrhage NOS, Post-partum hemorrhage, postpartum hemorrhage (diagnosis), postpartum hemorrhage, Post-partum haemorrhage, Hemorrhage postpartum, Haemorrhage after delivery of foetus, Haemorrhage after delivery of fetus, Postpartum Hemorrhage [Disease/Finding], Bleeding;postpartum, hemorrhage postpartum, post-partum haemorrhage, postpartum bleed, Haemorrhage;postpartum, bleeding postpartum, post-partum bleeding, post-partum hemorrhage, Postpartum bleeding, Postpartum haemorrhage (disorder), Postpartum hemorrhage NOS (disorder), Haemorrhage postpartum, Postpartum haemorrhage NOS (disorder), Postpartum hemorrhage, Bleeding postpartum, PPH - Postpartum haemorrhage, PPH - Postpartum hemorrhage, Postpartum haemorrhage, Hemorrhage after delivery of fetus, Postpartum hemorrhage (disorder), Post-partum bleeding, hemorrhage; postpartum, postpartum; hemorrhage, Hemorrhage after delivery of fetus, NOS, Postpartum hemorrhage, NOS, Postpartum Hemorrhage, Hemorrhage;postpartum, postpartum bleeding, postpartum haemorrhage
Dutch bloeding postpartum, hemorragie postpartum, postpartum hemorragie NAO, postpartumhemorragie, Post-partum bloedverlies, bloeding; post partum, post partum; bloeding, postpartumbloeding, Bloeding post partum, Bloeding, post partum
French Hémorragie postpartum, Hémorragie post-partum, Hémorragie postpartum SAI, Saignement post-partum, Hémorragie du postpartum, Hémorragie du post-partum, Hémorragie de la délivrance
German Blutung postpartal, postpartale Blutung, postpartale Blutung NNB, Postpartales Bluten, Blutung, postpartale, Postpartale Blutung, Hämorrhagie, postpartale
Italian Emorragia postpartum NAS, Sanguinamento postpartum, Sanguinamento post partum, Emorragia postpartum
Portuguese Hemorragia pós-parto NE, Sangramento pós-parto, Hemorragia Puerperal, Hemorragia pós-parto, Hemorragia Pós-Parto
Spanish Sangrado postpartum, Hemorragia postparto NEOM, hemorragia después del parto del feto, Sangrado postparto, Hemorragia Posparto, Hemorragia Postparto, Postpartum hemorrhage NOS, hemorragia de postparto, SAI, hemorragia de postparto, SAI (trastorno), Postpartum haemorrhage NOS, Hemorragia Puerperal, hemorragia después del alumbramiento del feto, hemorragia posparto, hemorragia postparto (trastorno), hemorragia postparto, Hemorragia postparto
Japanese 分娩後出血NOS, ブンベンゴシュッケツNOS, ブンベンゴシュッケツ, 産褥出血, 分娩後出血, 出血-分娩後
Swedish Postpartumblödning
Finnish Synnytyksenjälkeinen verenvuoto
Czech Poporodní krvácení NOS, Krvácení po porodu, Poporodní krvácení, poporodní krvácení, poporodní hemoragie, postpartální hemoragie, hemoragie poporodní, postpartální krvácení
Korean 분만후 출혈
Polish Krwotok poporodowy, Krwawienie maciczne poporodowe
Hungarian Postpartum haemorrhagia, Postpartum vérzés, Haemorrhagia post partum, Postpartum vérzés k.m.n.
Norwegian Blødning etter fødsel, Post partum-hemoragi, Postpartumblødning, Post partum-blødning
Derived from the NIH UMLS (Unified Medical Language System)

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