Postpartum Hemorrhage: A Recurring Pregnancy Complication

Michelle A. Kominiarek*, Sarah J. Kilpatrick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is a potentially life-threatening complication of both vaginal and cesarean deliveries. Although many variables increase the chance for bleeding, a PPH in a previous pregnancy is one of the greatest risk factors for recurrent PPH. A physiologic explanation for this association is not known, but recurrent risk factors such as a retained placenta or underlying medical disorders may account for the majority of recurrent PPH cases. To reduce maternal morbidity and mortality, prevention of PPH in these patients is critical. Steps to minimize hemorrhagic complications include the identification of high-risk patients through a complete history, vigilant management of the third stage of labor, and having uterotonic medications readily available in the delivery room. Patients with inherited coagulopathies require individualized treatment, and their risks for bleeding extend beyond the first 24 hours after delivery. Further studies are needed to determine whether the administration of prophylactic measures such as prostaglandins decrease the PPH occurrence in high-risk patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Perinatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007


  • coagulation disorders
  • postpartum hemorrhage
  • prevention
  • recurrence
  • retained placenta
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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