excessive bleeding after childbirth causes and treatment options

Symptom Database

Excessive bleeding after childbirth, also known as postpartum bleeding or postpartum hemorrhage, is a serious condition that can occur after giving birth. It is important to understand the causes and treatment options for this condition in order to effectively manage and prevent complications. In this article, we will explore the various factors that can contribute to excessive bleeding after childbirth and discuss the available treatment options.

Causes of Excessive Bleeding After Childbirth

There are several potential causes of excessive bleeding after childbirth. Understanding these causes can help healthcare providers identify and address the underlying issues. Some common causes include:

  • Trauma during childbirth: The birthing process can sometimes cause tears or lacerations in the uterus, cervix, or vaginal tissues, leading to heavy bleeding.
  • Uterine atony: This occurs when the uterus fails to contract properly after delivery, resulting in excessive bleeding.
  • Retained placenta: If fragments of the placenta remain in the uterus after delivery, it can lead to bleeding complications.
  • Coagulation disorders: Certain medical conditions or medications can interfere with the body’s ability to form blood clots, increasing the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
  • Uterine inversion: In rare cases, the uterus may turn inside out after childbirth, causing severe bleeding.

Treatment Options for Excessive Bleeding After Childbirth

Managing postpartum bleeding requires prompt medical intervention. The specific treatment options will depend on the underlying cause and severity of the bleeding. Here are some common approaches:


In cases of uterine atony, medications such as oxytocin or misoprostol may be administered to stimulate uterine contractions and reduce bleeding. These medications help the uterus to contract and expel any remaining placental tissue.

Manual Techniques

If the bleeding is caused by a retained placenta, a healthcare provider may perform a manual removal of the placenta. This procedure involves reaching into the uterus to manually extract any remaining placental fragments. It is typically done under anesthesia to minimize discomfort.

Surgical Interventions

In more severe cases of postpartum hemorrhage, surgical interventions may be necessary. These can include procedures such as uterine artery embolization, where small particles are injected into the blood vessels supplying the uterus to block the bleeding, or a hysterectomy, which involves the removal of the uterus.

Blood Transfusion

In situations where there is excessive blood loss, a blood transfusion may be required to replenish the body’s blood supply. This can help stabilize the patient and prevent further complications.

Preventing Excessive Bleeding After Childbirth

While it may not always be possible to prevent postpartum bleeding entirely, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk and severity of complications. Here are some preventive measures:

  • Regular prenatal care: Attending regular prenatal check-ups can help identify any potential risk factors or underlying conditions that may contribute to excessive bleeding.
  • Monitoring blood loss: Healthcare providers should closely monitor blood loss during and after childbirth to detect any signs of excessive bleeding early on.
  • Administering uterotonics: Medications that promote uterine contractions, such as oxytocin, can be administered during labor to reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
  • Proper management of third stage of labor: Ensuring the timely delivery of the placenta and checking for any retained fragments can help prevent bleeding complications.
  • Education and awareness: Educating expectant mothers about the signs and symptoms of postpartum bleeding can help them seek prompt medical attention if necessary.

It is important to remember that excessive bleeding after childbirth is a serious medical condition that requires immediate attention. If you or someone you know experiences heavy bleeding after giving birth, it is crucial to seek medical help without delay.

In conclusion, excessive bleeding after childbirth, also known as postpartum bleeding or postpartum hemorrhage, can have various causes and requires prompt medical intervention. Understanding the underlying factors and available treatment options is essential for managing and preventing complications. By taking preventive measures and seeking timely medical care, the risk and severity of postpartum bleeding can be minimized, ensuring the well-being of both mother and baby.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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