Postpartum bleeding can be defined as bleeding which occurs after childbirth. It is normal and small amounts of blood are lost due to the process of placental removal from the uterus. A woman normally loses between 500 and 1000 ml of blood after childbirth. The amount of lost blood basically depends on whether she has undergone vaginal birth or cesarean section. It is normal for a woman to lose up to 500 ml of blood in case of vaginal delivery. After cesarean section the loss of up to 100 ml of blood is considered normal. Unfortunately, in some women postpartum bleeding does not stop and they may lose more blood which in extreme cases leads to serious complications and sometimes even exsanguinations and death.
Normal Postpartum Bleeding
Postpartum bleeding is considered a physiological process and it occurs due to removal of the placenta from the uterus. After the delivery the placenta is no longer needed in the uterus and the body rejects it. It normally separates form the uterus which consequently leaves blood vessels of the uterus open. These blood vessels continue bleeding and this is a cause of postpartum bleeding. Proper contractions of the uterus and adequate process of blood clotting is essential and necessary to stop the bleeding. The bleeding tends to reduce slowly and it may continue in small amounts up between 2 and 6 weeks. Initially the bleeding is even heavier comparing to normal menstrual bleeding. However, it significantly reduces within a few days.
Abnormal Postpartum Bleeding
Abnormal postpartum bleeding develops as a consequence of improper contraction of the uterus which is not capable of controlling the bleeding. Abnormal postpartum bleeding may also occur in case a part of placenta has left in the uterus. Furthermore, this medical condition may be associated with infections, prolonged labor and tear in the vagina, trauma to the uterus, cervix or vagina during delivery. And finally, it may be a consequence of blood clotting disorders.
Postpartum bleeding is considered abnormal if it is profuse. The blood stays light red for many days and the bleeding does not reduce gradually. It may even become heavier comparing to first days after a delivery. Even though it is normal to have small blood clots expelled from the uterus in abnormal postpartum bleeding they may be huge exceeding the size of a golf ball.
Treatment for Abnormal Postpartum Bleeding
This is a serious medical condition which requires hospitalization. Patients are administered certain medications and in heavy bleeding they are also given blood transfusions. The doctor performs revision of the uterus to see whether there is any damaging to female reproductive organs or some parts of the placenta have remained in the uterus. The underlying cause of the abnormal bleeding must be identified as soon as possible and the problem can be easily dealt with certain medications and plenty of rest. Only in extreme cases when there is no chance for bleeding to be stopped the woman undergoes hysterectomy, a surgical removal of the uterus.