It is normal to bleed after you have given birth. Normally, the uterus sheds the extra tissue and blood that supported the development of your baby to replace a new lining. It is called lochia. However, heavy bleeding might continue for more than a week, and when it happens is known as postpartum hemorrhage.
Postpartum Hemorrhage in detail
Postpartum hemorrhage refers to the more than usual bleeding after the birth of a baby. It happens within the first 12 weeks after delivery. The chances of a postpartum hemorrhage occurring after a cesarean birth are higher than natural birth. It occurs mostly after the placenta is delivered.
What are the symptoms of postpartum Hemorrhage?
- Unusual large blood clots, the size of an egg or plum
- Excessive bleeding as days go by
- Decreased blood pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Increased heart rate
- Feeling weak and dizzy
- A never-ending headache
- An increase of temperature above 38 degrees Celsius
- A painful, swollen leg
- Swelling and pain in the vagina
- Chest pains
If you exhibit the above symptoms it is advisable to seek medical advice from your doctor.
What are the causes?
Postpartum hemorrhage occurs when the uterus does not contract as expected. After delivery, the uterine wall should contract– where the placenta was — to stop the bleeding. When the uterine wall contracts, it pushes the placenta out. The contractions assist to keep the pressure on the bleeding vessels where the placenta was attached. If enough pressure was not executed on the bleeding vessels, postpartum hemorrhage will occur.
Other causes of postpartum hemorrhage:
- Blood clotting disorders
- The rapture of uterine blood vessels
- Tears in the cervix or vagina during delivery
How can it be treated?
Finding the cause of the bleeding is the most effective way of treating postpartum hemorrhage. Usually, the treatment involves a uterine massage to arouse contractions. Uterine contractions push out the remained pieces of placenta left during delivery.
- Laparotomy or hysterectomy was performed. A laparotomy is a surgery involving identifying the cause of bleeding and stopping while a hysterectomy is a surgery involving the removal of the uterus.
- You might be put under IV fluids, blood products, and blood transfusion to replace the lost fluid.
Other ways of treatment include:
- Use of a Foley catheter or Bakri balloon
- Uterine artery embolization
It is essential to see the doctor if you suspect a postpartum hemorrhage. Excessive bleeding can lead to low blood pressure that can lead to death.