Keeping New Mothers Safe from Postpartum Haemorrhage – Part 1
Experiencing excess vaginal bleeding after the delivery of your baby is one of the most frightening aspects of your pregnancy that can happen. One of the challenges of good medical care is keeping women safe from this problem which is also known as
What’s On This Page
In the first of this 3-part series, we look at the meaning of postpartum
Therefore, PPH refers to all types of abnormal bleeding that happens after delivery up to the period 6 weeks after birth.
Normal vs Excess Vaginal Bleeding After Delivery
All women lose some amount of blood during the process of giving birth.
This amount can be different – depending on the type of delivery.
The average amount of blood loss after the vaginal delivery of a baby is about 500
The amount increases to about 1000 ml after a cesarean section.
Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) occurs when the blood loss is more than these amounts.
It is important that women who are at risk of excessive postpartum haemorrhage give birth at health facilities where they can be monitored for at least 24 hours after delivery
This helps to ensure that their bleeding pattern is normal.
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How Frequently Does PPH happen?
Approximately 830 women die globally from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications daily.
Most of these deaths happen where people have little access to health care because they cannot afford it, or the necessary quality is not available.
However, PPH can occur in places where women are richer or can access better quality health care.
In both instances, it can be prevented in the majority of cases.,
By 2015, deaths from maternal causes in developing countries were 239 per 100 000 live births comparable to 12 per 100 000 live births in developed countries. 
Quality of Health Care Always Matters
However, when we look at the quality of health care available in both settings, the reason for the differences in death rates is clear
Almost all women in developed countries have at least four antenatal care visits and are attended by a skilled health worker during childbirth.
They also receive postpartum care.
In 2015, only 40% of all pregnant women in developing countries had the recommended antenatal care visits.
Lack of adequate care during pregnancy and after childbirth contributes to the high death rates seen in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Sadly, these are not just figures but maternal lives lost due to preventable circumstances.
Death due to bleeding after delivery is a leading cause of maternal deaths globally.
But, it also accounts for 25% of all deaths annually. 
Understanding Pregnancy Complications Helps Prevention
In the next 2 parts of the series, we look at why PPH happens and some of the measures we can adopt to prevent it.
Have you experienced excessive vaginal bleeding after delivery? Or is it something you are worried about?
Let us know in the comments section below.
References: 1. Postpartum hemorrhage: incidence, risk factors, and outcomes in a low-resource setting. 2. Pregnancy, Acute Postpartum Hemorrhage. 3. A 10 year autopsy-based study of maternal mortality in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria. 4. Reducing maternal deaths in a low resource setting in Nigeria. 5. World Health Organization, 2018. Maternal Mortality. 6. Postpartum Bleeding: What To Expect After Giving Birth.
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
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