Waiting for the baby to be born during the nine months of pregnancy is not quite an easy thing. The woman’s body normally undergoes a lot of changes, not to mention all the anxiety, stress and emotions.
Once the baby is born and pregnancy ends, a completely new life starts for you. When it comes to vaginal bleeding, lochia is something that follows birth. This discharge helps the body eliminate all the supportive tissue left in the uterus.
There is nothing for you to worry about. However, sometimes bleeding after pregnancy occurs and even medical treatment may be needed in order to stop the blood flow.
Any abnormal blood loss from the uterus occurring immediately after birth is known as postpartum hemorrhage. After pregnancy, it usually occurs within the first 24 hours after giving birth. It can occur at any point during the first 12 weeks after giving birth.
Signs and symptoms of abnormal bleeding after pregnancy
Making the difference between normal lochia and abnormal bleeding is sometimes a hard thing to do. If you notice the presence of red blood even after a week following delivery, this could be a sign of abnormal vaginal bleeding.
If you notice a presence of fever or chills, this might be a sign of abnormal vaginal bleeding too. Any change in the odor of the lochia is another sign of abnormal bleeding, as normal lochia shouldn’t have a bad smell.
If you need to change the sanitary napkin every hour then you are probably bleeding more than normally, another indication of abnormal bleeding after pregnancy. Late postpartum hemorrhage is also possible, occurring even after one month of giving birth.
What causes abnormal bleeding after pregnancy?
After birth, if the blood vessels that supported the placenta don’t close off properly, bleeding may occur. Normally the uterus should start contracting immediately after the delivery, closing this way the blood vessels.
If this does not occur, then the blood vessels can’t close off properly. Prolonged labor, the use of certain medications during labor and delivery or even too much stretching of the uterus from the amniotic fluid can cause problems.
It can cause problems with the uterine contraction after birth, causing abnormal bleeding. The main problem with abnormal bleeding after pregnancy is the loss of blood. It is a serious and even life-threatening problem if not diagnosed and treated on time.
Other less severe complications include anemia, low blood pressure, etc. If postpartum hemorrhage stopped correctly after birth, it can start again at any point during the first month following birth.
Further blood loss is always possible during the first 6 weeks of recovery after childbirth.
Risk factors for abnormal bleeding after pregnancy
Some women have an increased risk of abnormal bleeding after pregnancy than others. Risk factors include:
• Placental abruption,
• Placenta increta, percreta, or accrete,
• Placenta previa,
• Retained placenta,
• Uterine atony,
• Uterine rupture,
• Uterine inversion,
• Lacerations during delivery,
• Using medications during pregnancy to stop preterm labor,
• Using medications to induce labor,
• Prolonged labor,
• Quick labor,
• Getting general anesthesia during C-section,
• Gestational hypertension,
• Disseminated intravascular coagulation,
• Willebrand disease,
• Having had abnormal bleeding after pregnancy in the past,
• Being Asian or Hispanic, etc.
How is abnormal bleeding after pregnancy treated?
First of all, it is very important to identify abnormal uterine bleeding occurring immediately after delivery. Once diagnosed, the doctor or midwife will try stimulating uterine contractions by massaging the uterus and trying this way to stop the bleeding. An administration of synthetic oxytocin is also recommended. Synthetic oxytocin is a hormone that promotes uterine contractions.
If these methods don’t help and the bleeding is not controlled, a compression of the arteries that supply the uterus is the next step. Checking the uterus for any cuts, tears, or remaining of any pieces of the placenta is also a must, which could be causing a continued loss of blood after pregnancy. Hysterectomy and laparotomy are necessary in cases when no other conservative treatment methods have worked to control the bleeding and stop it.
Prevention of abnormal bleeding after pregnancy
Often problems during pregnancy or during delivery and after childbirth can be prevented by a close monitoring of the pregnant woman. Regular ultrasound examinations and physical examinations can identify any problem. It can also prepare the healthcare provider and you for any complications. However, it is not always possible to identify bleeding after pregnancy or prevent it.
A close monitoring of the woman for the first hour following birth is a must. This way your doctor or midwife will be able to identify and treat the abnormal bleeding on time. As mentioned, if not diagnosed and treated on time abnormal bleeding after pregnancy is a life-threatening condition. This is especially true if the bleeding occurring immediately after birth. Luckily, this kind of issues after pregnancy occurs rarely.
Only 1 to 5 women of 100 women may develop it after pregnancy.