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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

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Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

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now and in the future.

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Maternal Death: Antepartum Hemorrhage, Non-Obstetric Causes

What happens when blood loss endangers the life of mother and baby during or after birth? Some loss of blood is always to be expected, but when the levels are above and beyond normal concerns, the woman may be in the midst of a medical crisis known as postpartum hemorrhage (PPH).

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A doctor’s job should be to evaluate the progression of labor and note any unusual symptoms, such as excessive blood loss, that could raise the risk of maternal death or birth injuries for the baby.

There are many different reasons why a woman may experience excessive blood loss during and after the labor and delivery process. Physicians and other medical personnel working with the mother during labor and delivery should be prepared to respond to emergency situations.

There are both obstetric and non-obstetric causes of PPH. While some blood loss is normal in the birth process, severe PPH is a serious condition that can possibly compromise the life of the mother. Excessive loss of blood can put the woman at considerable risk. Some of the most common causes include:

Elk & Elk
  • Birth canal wounds
  • Failure to completely deliver the placenta
  • Maternal bleeding disorders that prohibit blood clotting
  • A loss of muscle tone in the uterus after birth

What Risk Factors Increase the Chance of PPH?

Certain risk factors can increase the chances of postpartum hemorrhage including:

  • Infection
  • Obesity
  • Multiple babies in the current pregnancy

Other complications can occur during the labor and delivery process that will increase the chances of PPH. These include interventions such as augmented labor methods that can speed up the progression of labor, forceps or vacuum delivery, a caesarian section or an episiotomy. Furthermore, any prolonged labor, bacterial infection or large fetus can increase chances. A doctor should be prepared to monitor the symptoms and signs of postpartum hemorrhage. The first sign is heavy vaginal bleeding, but this can also be accompanied by increased heart rate, light headedness and fainting and swelling and pain in the vaginal area.

Dangers of Unexpected and Undiagnosed Bleeding

If caught properly critical injuries can be avoided. Since there are so many different potential causes of bleeding during and after the birthing process, any other abnormal symptoms should be reported right away to a doctor. This gives the medical team the most opportunity to investigate the issue and determine the underlying cause.

Understanding the risk factors that can increase someone's chances of PPH are critical and can even save a patient's life.