II. Definition

  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

III. Epidemiology

  1. Incidence: 3-5% of all deliveries
  2. Responsible for 25% of worldwide maternal deaths and 14% of U.S. maternal deaths

IV. 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

V. Causes: Mnemonic: 4T's

  1. Tone diminished or uterine atony (70%)
    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%)
    1. Uterine Inversion
    2. Uterine Rupture
    3. Cervical Laceration
    4. Vaginal hematoma
  3. Tissue (10%)
    1. Retained Placenta
    2. Placenta accreta (or other invasive placenta)
  4. Thrombin (1%)
    1. Coagulopathy

VI. Signs

  1. Inspect Vagina and Cervix for bleeding source
  2. Quantify blood loss
    1. Under-buttocks drape with calibrated catch
    2. Weigh blood soaked pads, clots
  3. Observe for findings of Hemorrhagic Shock
    1. Sinus Tachycardia (may be earliest sign of Postpartum Hemorrhage)
    2. Orthostasis
    3. Hypotension
  4. Observe for end-organ ischemia
    1. Chest Pain
    2. Dyspnea
    3. Nausea or Vomiting
    4. Oliguria

VII. 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

VIII. 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 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

IX. Management: Resuscitation

  1. Indications
    1. Brisk bleeding
    2. Hypotension and Tachycardia
  2. Initial General Management
    1. Bimanual uterine massage
    2. Oxytocin (10 IU IM or 20 IU/L at 250 ml/h), and continue for first 24 hours
    3. Methergine 0.2 mg IM
    4. Large Bore (14-16 gauge) Intravenous Access (2 sites) and crystalloid bolus (NS, LR)
    5. Type and cross for 2-4 units pRBC
    6. Empty Bladder with Foley Catheter (may improve uterine tone)
    7. Close hemodynamic monitoring
    8. Supplemental Oxygen
    9. Patient in Trendelenburg or with legs elevated
  3. Next measures for refractory bleeding
    1. Assess 4 Ts below
    2. Hemabate (15-methyl-prostaglandin F2 alpha)
      1. Dose: 0.25 to 1 mg IM or intromyometrium
      2. May repeat in 15 minutes
  4. Massive Hemorrhage Management
    1. Transfuse pRBC, platelets, Cryoprecipitate, factors as indicated
      1. May require O negative Blood Transfusion
    2. Compressive Uterine packing (temporizing measure)
      1. Plain gauze OR
      2. Gauze soaked in vasopressin, chitosan or hemabate (carboprost)
    3. Balloon tamponade (temporizing measure)
      1. Foley Catheter inserted into Cervix and balloon inflated with sterile saline or sterile water
    4. Surgical interventions (definitive management)
      1. Vessel embolization
      2. Ligation of Uterine and Hypogastric arteries
      3. Hysterectomy

X. 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. Methergine 0.2 mg IM q2-4 hours
        1. Contraindicated in Hypertension
      3. 15-Methyl PGF2-alfa
        1. Hemabate 0.25 mg IM q15 min to maximum 2 mg or
        2. Carboprost
      4. Misoprostol (Cytotec, PGE1)
        1. Misoprostel 1000 mcg per Rectum or
        2. Misoprostel 400 mcg per Rectum after placenta delivery and 100 mcg at 4 hours and 8 hours
      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. Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP)
      2. Platelet Transfusion
      3. Factor VIIa

XI. 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

XII. 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

XIII. 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

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Related Studies

Ontology: 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