What Causes Postpartum Hemorrhage?
To better understand the main cause of postpartum heavy bleeding, it’s important to understand some key events during labor and delivery:
- In labor and delivery, the uterus contracts or “squeezes” to help push the baby out.
- After the baby is born, the uterus continuously contracts to expel the placenta.
- Once the placenta is out, the uterine muscles should still keep on contracting.
- These contractions help stop the bleeding by compressing the blood vessels and area where the placenta was once attached.
However, there are cases wherein the uterus doesn’t contract strongly enough to stop the bleeding. This condition is called “uterine atony” and it’s the most common scenario with postpartum hemorrhage.
Another possible reason for excessive bleeding is when bits or pieces of the placenta remain inside the womb. A mother may also bleed heavily if she has a tear in the tissues of her vagina, cervix, or uterus.
Now that you know about the \common causes of postpartum hemorrhage, it’s time to learn about the risk factors.
Conditions Affecting the Placenta
Aside from the retained placental tissues inside the womb, other problems related to placenta could also result to postpartum hemorrhage.
Placental delivery usually takes place after the baby’s birth. However, there are instances when the placenta detaches before the baby is born.
This condition is called placental abruption and it’s dangerous for both mother and child. Mothers can suffer from heavy bleeding while babies may be deprived of oxygen due to lack of substantial blood flow.
One of the postpartum hemorrhage risk factors is placenta previa.
Placenta previa happens when the placenta implants at the lowest part of the uterus, covering the cervix or lying near the cervical opening. This may cause severe bleeding when giving birth or at any time during pregnancy.
Another condition that can result in heavy bleeding after childbirth is placenta accreta.
In this condition, the placenta attaches itself so deeply into the wall of the uterus that it doesn’t separate. So the placenta or a part of it remains attached to the uterus.