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Postpartum hemorrhage is excessive blood loss in a woman after childbirth. It is called primary when it is within the first 24 hours after childbirth. Secondary (or delayed) postpartum hemorrhage occurs between 24 hours to six weeks after childbirth.
Some blood loss is normal. However, postpartum hemorrhage is a potentially serious condition that often goes unrecognized. Any excessive blood loss can put a woman at considerable risk. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns about blood loss after giving birth.
Treatment is based on the severity of bleeding. Treatment options include:
Fluids, Oxygen, and/or Resuscitation
You may need IV fluids or an oxygen mask. In severe cases, resuscitation or a
may be necessary.
Bimanual Uterine Massage
A massage technique called bimanual uterine massage can control bleeding. A doctor or nurse will place one hand in your vagina to push on your uterus, while the other hand pushes down on your abdomen. This action will cause a relaxed uterus to contract, thus slowing bleeding.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
ACOG Practice Bulletin: Clinical Management Guidelines for Obstetrician-Gynecologists Number 76, October 2006: postpartum hemorrhage.
2006;108(4):1039-1047. Reaffirmed 2011.
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: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated July 19, 2013. Accessed August 6, 2013.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
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.