Every year, approximately 14 million women around the world go through a postpartum haemorrhage, leading to roughly 70,000 maternal deaths (WHO).
Hello, Mums; Soon-to-be Mums; and Dads out there.
Today, we’re going to discuss a topic that might not sound too pleasant. Generally, it’s important to know about postpartum bleeding, also known as postpartum haemorrhage (PPH).
Don’t worry, we’ll keep things simple and informative so you can understand it better.
What is PPH?
Postpartum haemorrhage or bleeding occurs when females experience severe vaginal bleeding after giving birth. It’s a serious condition that can even be life-threatening, so it’s essential to be aware of the symptoms.
It might make one feel dizzy, faint or have blurred vision. This type of bleeding can happen within the first 12 weeks after giving birth. The good news is that if you catch it early and get treatment right away, you can make a full recovery. So if you notice any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek help immediately.
Types of PPH
Now, let’s dig a little deeper into postpartum bleeding. There are two different forms of it.
Causes of PPH
Have you ever wondered about the causes of postpartum haemorrhage? Well, the main cause is usually poor contractions of the uterus after childbirth. Other factors that can contribute to it are incomplete delivery of the placenta, tearing of the uterus or problems with blood clotting.
Some people are more at risk of experiencing postpartum bleeding, such as:
- People with low red blood cell counts.
- Women who have larger or multiple babies.
- People who are obese.
- Women who are over 40 years old.
- It’s also more common in women who have had a C-section.
- Mothers whose labour was induced with medication.
- People who needed assistance with tools like forceps or a vacuum.
- Those who have had an episiotomy.
Symptoms of PPH
- The most common symptom of postpartum bleeding is excessive vaginal bleeding that doesn’t stop or slow down over time.
- You might also experience a faster heart rate, faster breathing, and dizziness when standing up.
- As the bleeding continues, you might feel cold, your blood pressure may drop and you could even lose consciousness.
- In some cases, postpartum bleeding can cause circulatory shock, which may manifest as blurred vision, cool and sweaty skin, confusion, and a feeling of weakness or drowsiness.
Treatment of PPH
When it comes to treatment, it’s usually considered an emergency. The main goals are to replenish blood volume and stop the bleeding as quickly as possible.
Doctors and healthcare professionals may use several methods to achieve this, such as:
- Massaging the uterus to help it contract.
- Giving medication that increases contractions.
- Removing any remaining placental tissue.
- Repairing injuries or tears in the uterus, cervix, or vagina.
- Using sterile gauze to fill the uterus or close off blood arteries.
- Putting pressure on the uterine walls with a catheter or balloon.
- Blocking off the uterine artery. In severe cases, a blood transfusion might be necessary to replace lost blood.
Remember, if you experience any of the symptoms we discussed, don’t hesitate to seek immediate help. Stay safe and take care of yourself.
Researched by Olamide Opebiyi