Postpartum hemorrhage or excessive blood loss after delivery is when there is a loss of greater than 500 ml of blood after a vaginal delivery, or 1000 ml of blood following a C-section.  If the heavy bleeding is not controlled it can lead to shock, loss of ability to have future pregnancies, permanent brain damage or maternal death.

Uterine atony, or the inability of the uterus to contract, is the cause for most cases of excessive bleeding after delivery, and can often be corrected with uterine massage along with the medication Pitocin or oxytocin.  Other causes of postpartum hemorrhage are:

  • Retained placenta or afterbirth
  • Placental accreta
  • Uterine rupture
  • Uterine inversion
  • Birth trauma leading to tissue or vessel lacerations or damage
  • Blood disorders or clotting problems

An obstetrician or nurse midwife should promptly diagnose the reason for heavy bleeding after delivery and properly treat the cause of a hemorrhage.  To help stop bleeding and preserve future fertility, a nurse or doctor may try massaging the uterus, medications, laceration repair, vaginal packing, uterine artery embolization, blood transfusions or administering blood-clotting factors depending on the cause of the bleeding. If the bleeding cannot be controlled, an emergency hysterectomy may be performed to prevent any further blood loss, shock, organ damage or other significant injuries. 

If you or someone close to you developed excessive bleeding or hemorrhage after delivery, and feel it was not properly treated, you may want to contact a law firm with doctor/lawyers or experienced medical malpractice attorneys for additional information and a free consultation.